Penal Code 148.3 PC | False Report of an Emergency


Penal Code 148.3 PC – False Report of an Emergency

Hey there! This article will explain California’s law against falsely reporting an emergency under Penal Code 148.3 PC. We’ll break it down in simple terms, looking at what’s illegal, penalties, defenses, and more. No fancy legal talk here!

What Does the Law Say About False Emergency Reports?

California law makes it illegal to intentionally report a fake emergency that results in first responders being dispatched. Let’s break down what’s required:

  • You reported an emergency to law enforcement or another government agency
  • You knew the report was false when you made it
  • Emergency personnel responded as a result

So if you call 911 and make up a fake crisis, causing police and paramedics to rush to the scene, you could be charged under PC 148.3. It doesn’t matter if you were playing a prank or trying to get revenge on someone.

What is Considered an Emergency?

Under the law, an “emergency” is anything that causes:

  • Emergency vehicles to be dispatched, like police, fire, or EMS
  • A building or area to be evacuated
  • An AMBER Alert to be issued
  • The Emergency Alert System to be activated

So making up any scenario that triggers a response like these could lead to false report charges.

What Are the Penalties?

Falsely reporting an emergency is a misdemeanor in California. Potential penalties include:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail
  • A fine up to $1,000
  • Reimbursing the cost of the emergency response

While these penalties are relatively minor compared to felonies, a misdemeanor conviction can still negatively impact your life and future opportunities.

When is it a Felony?

The false report becomes a felony if someone is seriously injured or killed during the emergency response. This can lead to up to 3 years in state prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Recent Changes to the Law

Here are some recent changes that affect false report charges:

  • In 2018, penalties increased for false reports during lawful protests
  • In 2020, falsely reporting workplace violence became illegal

An attorney can advise you on the latest charges and penalties under this law.

Legal Defenses

Here are some examples of defenses that could fight the charges:

  • No intent – You didn’t intend to report a false emergency.
  • Mistake – You reasonably believed there was a real crisis at the time.
  • First Amendment – The report was protected free speech (in certain cases).

An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed by raising one of these defenses.

Related Offenses

Other similar crimes include:

  • False report of a fire – PC 148.4
  • False report of a crime – PC 148.5
  • Bomb threats – PC 148.1

A lawyer can help fight multiple charges if you are accused of violating several false report laws.

Recent Case Examples

Let’s look at some real cases to understand how these charges get applied:

  • People v. Clark – Clark was convicted for calling 911 and falsely claiming he had a bomb strapped to his chest during a bank robbery. He got 6 months in jail.
  • People v. Miller – Miller was acquitted for reporting a chemical spill at a factory that didn’t exist. He showed he genuinely believed it occurred.

What to Do If You Are Charged

If you are accused of falsely reporting an emergency, here are some steps to take:

  1. Remain silent and only speak to your criminal defense lawyer
  2. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney
  3. Follow your lawyer’s advice about plea bargains or going to trial
  4. Work closely with your lawyer to build the strongest defense

Never try to represent yourself on criminal charges. An experienced California criminal defense lawyer can often negotiate reduced charges or even get charges dismissed. Don’t take chances with your future!