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False Report of an Emergency (PC 148.3) in Anaheim

In the state of California and by extension in the city of Anaheim, according to Penal Code 148.3(a), if a person reports (or causes someone else to report) an emergency to the authorities, clearly knowing that the report is false, then they are guilty of a misdemeanor crime.

According to Penal Code 148.3(a), the offense is considered to be even more serious and therefore a felony charge if the false report causes the injury or death of a third party. For example, a false report that causes an immediate evacuation by the authorities that then causes the death of a person in a stampede would be considered a felony.

An example of a situation where someone would be charged with false report of an emergency would be an instance where someone were to call law enforcement to report that are trapped in a burning building and are in dire need of help from the fire department and law enforcement to help him get out of this predicament as soon as possible, and that he is in grave danger. However, in reality, the person who called just wants to make the news and cause commotion. When the police and the firemen get there, the man is, in fact, perfectly safe and simply sitting on the side of the street.

Elements to Prove a False Report of an Emergency

For a conviction to be made, the prosecutor must prove that:

  • A false report was made and that
  • There was full knowledge that the report was false
Defense Against a ‘False Report of an Emergency’ Accusation

The most common defense against the charge of ‘False Report of an Emergency’ is that the accused did not actually know that they were making a false report. An example of this being a fair argument would be a situation where a man walking on the sidewalk spots, on the other side of the street, a woman getting mugged by someone else. So, he calls 911 to report the incident. After brief investigation, it is found out the “burglar” in this situation is, in fact, just a friend of the woman and the man who reported the incident was simply mistaken and he misunderstood their friendliness. Because the man genuinely, wholeheartedly believed that he was reporting a crime, this would not be considered to be false report of an emergency.

Also, children often will call 911 without having a full understanding of the consequences of such a call.

A person can also be fully defended against the charge if they, for all intent and purposes, thought that an emergency situation was actually taking place. For example, if a person notices a lot of smoke emanating from a house, they may report that the house may be on fire if they think that there is nobody in the house when in actual fact someone was in the house and burned some food.

Likewise, defendants can be charged for maliciously reporting someone for attacking or robbing them as a form of retaliation for a past perceived wrong.

It is important to call a local attorney to defend you against these charges if you are accused of violating PC 148.3.

Our attorneys are available at all hours. Call our office now to discuss your charge of making a false report.

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