What does this crime involve?
This crime is committed if someone interferes with a domestic violence emergency call by intentionally hindering, obstructing, disconnecting, or in any other way, preventing the victim from calling for assistance.
For your convenience, the actual law is reprinted at the end of this article.
What are Typical defenses to this crime?
One defense is that the person did not intentionally interfere with the call. This may be because the phone was accidentally disconnected or the person took the phone not knowing the other party had called (or was planning to make) an emergency call.
Another defense is that the person who hung up the phone was not the person accused but someone else.Often it is the "victim" who hangs up. Sometimes, during heated exchanges, one person may start to call the police and then change their mind and hang up. If the call has gone through, the police will arrive at the scene; the person who made the call may lie about what happened. Sometimes this happens because of anger and sometimes the caller is afraid they will go to jail.
Sometimes a party to a dispute will call the police and hang up with the intent of getting the other person arrested by claiming the other person interrupted the call.
Even if someone is guilty of this type of crime there are still a number of ways that the case may be resolved without a conviction. Resolution of these types of cases depends on a variety of factors such as the person's prior record -or lack of a prior record, as well as the viewpoints of the various people involved including the complaining witness, law enforcement, and the prosecutor. How well your lawyer interacts and negotiates your case can make an enormous difference in how the case is resolved.
Should I hire an attorney if I'm accused of this?
Yes. A conviction for any domestic violence crime has both direct and indirect consequences.
Under Alabama law, this crime is a Class B misdemeanor. The sentence is up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.
In addition, there are indirect consequences. For example, a conviction could result in the loss of one's job or future employment opportunities. it can affect one's security clearance. it can impact on other legal matters such as child custody or divorce.
Anyone accused of this crime should obtain the services of a competent criminal defense lawyer. If you would like the help of Segal and Segal, just give us a call at (256) 533-4529.
Interference with a domestic violence emergency call.
Section 13A-6-137,Code of Alabama.
(a) A person commits the crime of interference with a domestic violence emergency call if he or she intentionally hinders, obstructs, disconnects, or in any way prevents the victim from calling for assistance.
(b) Interference with a domestic violence emergency call is a Class B misdemeanor.