Phone Calls Intended to Annoy Others
Cell phones allow us to instantly communicate with each other, without having to show our faces. While most people will have stories of making prank calls to friends as children, there are laws in place regarding phone calls that are deemed “annoying”. That isn’t to say that two people engaging in pranking each other is a criminal offense. Instead, this article will provide a brief overview of the criminal charges for annoying telephone calls.
What is the Crime?
According to California Penal Code 653m, communication methods like telephones, text messages, and emails can be made in an effort to harass a victim. The intention is really important, as the prosecution must prove that the defendant had intented to harass or annoy the victim. The phone call is considered annoying if it contains obscene content, lodges threats against the victim and their family, or is repetitive. As mentioned previously, there’s a distinction to be made between something being annoying in the criminal sense and a call that you would prefer to not receive. A person calling a victim over and over again knowing that this will make the victim feel harassed will be charged, but a friend calling two or three times without any intent to harass would not be charged.
Punishments for the Crime
Making these calls or sending texts that fall under this penal code can result in a misdemeanor conviction in California. The communication can be part of a wider criminal context, meaning the defendant could also face other charges. If found guilty of this specific crime, the defendant could face up to six months in jail. If you have been accused of making annoying or harassing phone calls, immediately seek the counsel of an experienced lawyer in order to launch a legal defense.