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Obstruction of Emergency Communications

It’s common knowledge that if you’re in trouble you should dial 9-1-1 as soon as possible for immediate assistance. What you might now know, however, is what could happen if you interfere with someone making a 9-1-1 call. Under the Iowa Code, it’s illegal to obstruct or interfere with another person making an emergency communication, even if said person was intentionally planning to make false accusations against you. This crime is referred to as obstruction of emergency communications under the Iowa Code Section 727.5. 

Most obstruction cases stem from a disagreement between romantic partners or family members that simply spiraled out of control. Normally, the person who obstructed the call did so because they didn’t want to be accused of a crime or because the other person was acting irrationally. Unfortunately, the court might not take these facts into consideration and still convict you of obstruction of an emergency communication despite the circumstances. That is why we highly encourage you to secure experienced legal representation if you’ve been accused of interfering with an 9-1-1 call.

Attorney for Obstruction of Emergency Communications in Des Moines, IA

To protect the integrity of emergency lines, the state of Iowa has implemented harsh penalties for those who have interfered with an emergency communication. If you’ve been accused of obstruction of emergency communications, then we urge you to contact the attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. 

An experienced attorney can be the difference between liberty and prison if you’ve been accused of obstruction of an emergency communication. Our defense attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. have represented clients charged with all types of crimes collectively for decades. Their years of practice in the courtroom have presented them with every challenge in the book. So, you can count on them to be prepared for any argument the prosecution may make.

To set up your first consultation free, call us at (515) 279-9700. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area including Altoona, West Des Moines, Bondurant, Polk City, Alleman, Runnells, Johnston, Pleasant Hill, Windsor Heights, Adel, Dallas Center, Perry, Waukee, Redfield, Minburn, Woodward, and De Soto. 

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What Happens If You Interfere with a 911 Call in Iowa?

Physically stopping or interfering with a 9-1-1 call in the state of Iowa is a crime. The offense is listed under the Iowa Code Section 727.5, which states an emergency communication is any telephone call or radio transmission to a fire department, law enforcement, ambulance, or medical aid because a human life or more could be in danger and the need for immediate aid is essential. So, the crime isn’t solely reserved for interfered calls to 9-1-1 as it involves all emergency communications between those agencies. For example, if a person somehow obstructs radio transmissions between agencies, then they could be charged with obstruction of an emergency communication.

The statute goes on to state that if a person fails to relinquish the telephone or telephone line with the knowledge it’s being used for an emergency call, then that person could be charged with interference of an emergency communication. Section 727.5 also states a person can be charged with obstruction if they knowingly or intentionally obstruct or interfere with the emergency call. For example, if a person blocks another from the phone or rips it from their hands, then that would be a good example of knowingly or intentionally obstructing or interfering with an 9-1-1 call.

Obstruction of emergency communications if convicted is a simple misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of at least $65, but no more than $625. Additionally, the offender may be sentenced to up to 30 days in county jail as a sentencing condition or in lieu of the fine. The crime is commonly committed during a domestic dispute and is often referred to as a domestic violence crime as it involves one family member stopping another from receiving help. 


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Examples of Obstruction of Emergency Communications in Iowa

When tensions are high, people often find themselves in situations where they may not have time to think about their actions and instead react in the heat of the moment. Many people charged with obstruction of emergency communications have found themselves in this scenario and regret their actions immensely. Unfortunately, the law may not be as forgiving.

There are various ways a person could be charged with interference with an emergency communication. Listed below are some scenarios in which a person could be charged with obstruction of an emergency communication. 


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What Happens If You Make a Fake or Prank 911 Call in Iowa?

Making false or prank 911 calls is another crime related to obstruction of an emergency communication. The offense is listed under the Iowa Code section 727.6, which states that any person who secures the use of a telephone or telephone line and falsely claims an emergency will be charged as a result. Often offenders who commit this crime are young adults or teens who are trying to have some harmless fun but are unaware of the consequences their actions may bring. 

Falsely claiming an emergency is a simple misdemeanor. The maximum punishment a person may receive for falsely claiming an emergency includes: 


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Additional Resources

National 911 Program | 911.Gov – Visit the official website for the National 911 Program, whose mission is to provide federal leadership and coordination when maintaining and promoting optimal 911 services. Access the site to get answers to your frequently asked questions, learn if you can text 911 for emergencies, how to use 911 properly, current 911 issues, and other related information. 

Iowa Laws for Interfering with a 911 Call – Visit the official website for the Iowa Legislature to learn more about their laws for obstruction of emergency communications. Access the site to read up on the penalties, the elements of the crime, and other related offenses.


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Des Moines Attorney for Interference with 911 Call in Iowa

If you or someone you know has been accused of interfering with a 911 call or other emergency communication, it’s within your best interest to contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. The attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. have extensive experience representing clients from obstruction of justice charges, including any charges for interference with a 911 call. They will utilize all their resources and skills to craft a sturdy defense so you can receive the best possible result for your case. 

Set up your first consultation as soon as possible by calling our criminal defense attorneys at (515) 279-9700. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Polk County and Dallas County area including Ankeny, Altoona, Johnston, Polk City, Bondurant, Pleasant Hill, Alleman, Adel, Perry, Dallas Center, Redfield, Waukee, Minburn, Van Meter, Woodward, and De Soto. 


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