NRS 207.161 to 207.167 – Emergency Communications Interference

Urgent 911 hospital emergency call

An emergency communication, such as police communicating a request for an ambulance, is extremely important to public safety. Unfortunately, there are instances when those communications are interrupted or interfered with. If there is evidence that someone intended to interfere with the emergency communication, they could be subjected to harsh penalties under Nevada law.

Pursuant to NRS 207.161, the following terms apply to the laws associated with interfering with emergency communications:

  • Emergency Call – a call that’s made from a person to an emergency line because prompt aid is essential due to property or human life being in jeopardy.
  • Public Telephone – a telephone available for public use. These telephones are usually controlled by inserting a coin or bills or by entering a calling card, credit card, or debit card number.

Refusal to Hand Over a Public Telephone for an Emergency Call

When a person is on a call, no matter how important, the necessity to make a call to 911 is more important yet. If every other apparent public phone is tied up, you must get off your call and allow the other person to make the emergency call. If you do not immediately relinquish the telephone, you are violating the law.

Obtaining a Public Telephone Under the Pretense of Needing to Make an Emergency Call

Regardless of how long someone is taking on a call, don’t be tempted to pretend to need the phone for an emergency call so you can get them to finally hang up and give you the phone. This can get you in trouble with the law as it is illegal.

Almost every telephone directory contains a notice of this law. In fact, if a notice of the NRS 207.163 are not listed in the telephone directory provided by a person, corporation, or firm providing telephone service, they are breaking the law.

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It should be pretty simple to locate the notice. It has to be displayed in a specific way. They must be:

  • Printed in the same size font as the other font on the page; and
  • Preceded by the word “Warning.” This word must also be in at least the same size font as the other font on the page.

However, an important exception is classified directories, which are telephone directories handed out exclusively for business purposes, do not need to contain this notice.

What Constitutes an Emergency Call?

A call to 911 is not merited for a barking dog or loud party, minor cut, or power outage. The kinds of things that constitute an emergency call are:

  • If You Are In or Witness a Car Accident – This is especially necessary if someone is injured, is not particularly feeling well, or is dizzy.
  • Any Fire – Even if you think you can put the fire out on your own, you should call 911. The flames can spread quickly. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • You Think You Might Have Witnessed a Crime – Even if you’re not sure, you should call. If there was a crime, the police have more of a chance of catching the criminal.
  • Serious Medical Problems – These include things like difficulty speaking, severe burns, choking, chest pain, numbness, a suicide threat, or drowning.

Interfering with Emergency Transmissions over the Citizen’s Radio Service

If a person gets on the emergency channel on the Citizen’s Radio Service to knowingly, intentionally, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, impede, interrupt, or otherwise interfere with emergency communication, he’ll be guilty of a misdemeanor.

The person committing the crime is impeding a person who is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury from getting help. Or this person is keeping the property, which is in imminent danger of destruction or damage from being tended to.

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If the person suffering the emergency ends up suffering serious bodily harm due to the criminal’s interference or if there ends up being property damage to the extent of $1,001 or above, the offender will be charged with a gross misdemeanor.

How Do the Courts Decide if the Interference Was Intentional?

The person will be alleged to have knowingly, intentionally, or with criminal negligence impeded, interrupted, or interfered with the emergency transmission on the Citizen’s Radio Service if the person who caused the interference:

  • Impeded, interrupted, or otherwise interfered with the transmission of a communication on an emergency channel; or
  • Possessed and operated equipment that was able to produce enough power (with the help of a linear amplifier or on its own) to go above the limits set and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.

Charged with Interfering with an Emergency Communication in Nevada? Speak to an Experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you were arrested in Las Vegas for allegedly interfering with an emergency communication, now is the time for immediate action. Do not just listen to friends and family about what to do in your case. Remember, every criminal case is unique and different. More importantly, your freedom should not be left to chance. Instead, it is strongly recommended that you retain the services of an experienced and qualified Las Vegas criminal defense attorney. Contact LV Criminal Defense at (702) 623-6362 to request a free consultation.