Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.
I'm sorry to hear your situation. Would there be any intent to harass this person? That is, is there any animosity that can be claimed, etc...?
FYI the penal code on the citation is 653x
In other words, in what way could someone argue that you intended to harass this individual?
(thank you for the citation, I found that already...)
We had been scheduled to go on a second date
but they didn't appear
I tried to contact them to see if they were ok
they then contacted me online but didn't know it was me online and asked for an illicit encounter
this concerned me as it was totally unlike their behavior
Do you mean "him" or were you going on a double date (hence "they")?
I wanted to talk to them so I gave them an address to meet me at
which is a family home
no I am not straight
they were my date
So this was a couple?
(rather than an individual)?
there were no ill words spoken or anything of the sort but when they saw me at the door they ran to their car and took off
No this was an individual
by they I mean the other party
the other person
The police claimed that since I didn't disclose to the 911 operator that I know the person that it was a problem
You mention that it was not like him... Did you have another basis (other than the first date) to make a determination of the mental state of this individual?
We had spent an entire day together and talked extensively about our lives and backgrounds
this person is on the national ice skating team and has a very bright future ahead of them
I was very surprised to see they would be making illicit house calls at midnight and going to unknown addresses
I confronted them about this saying this was unsafe and they need to be carefil
the individual was dismissive and agressive
complete contrast from previous encounter
I was concerned
Thank you. Did you mention that you did not know him (to the 911 operator), or just failed to mention that you did?
I honestly do not remember saying I did not know him
I believe I said I was unsure because it was dark outside and I couldn't see clearly because the porch light is very dim
I didn't know it was that person for sure until they texted me later
claiming I made a false police report
The reason that this is important is that it could go to the motive... The law specifically says: 653x. (a) Any person who telephones the 911 emergency line with the intent to annoy or harass another person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment. Nothing in this section shall apply to telephone calls made in good faith. (b) An intent to annoy or harass is established by proof of repeated calls over a period of time, however short, that are unreasonable under the circumstances. (c) Upon conviction of a violation of this section, a person also shall be liable for all reasonable costs incurred by any unnecessary emergency response.
I specifically told the operator I just wanted the police to ensure the person was ok to drive
yes I have read the penal code
As it says "Nothing in this section shall apply to telephone calls made in good faith."
(I'm referencing it for our discussion)
Oh got it
but they have to prove that I had intent to harass
The police will use the circumstances to try to establish the intent.
Yes, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Is it harassment to inform someone of the dangers of their behavior?
or to wish to inform them?
Now that can be established by a "jilted lover" theory, in that you were stood up, and you called 911 to harass this individual. I don't believe that is the case, as I have no reason to doubt you that you're telling me the truth (you wouldn't have any reason to lie to me).
well I have pages of text messages with nothing but questions of if they are ok
No, it's not harassment, but rather this is what the police (who can't really look into your head to see what you're really thinking) would be analyzing this case based ipon.
How many text messages, and how far apart?
And was there any indication on his part that he "broke it off", etc...?
(aside from the illicit encounter that you found out about online)?
Then I closed with "If you didn't want to hang out or you didn't feel like going on a date. You could always say so. At least you could have a friend."
This is in the texts?
(before you calling 911)?
yes word for word
this was at 8:24 PM
Did you call 911 only once, or multiple times?
the call to 911 was at 12:04 AM
they answered right away and I read off the license plate as they were starting the car and peeling out of the road
they took off at such a high speed... I guess they were startled but
I merely offered to talk about what was going on to see if I could help
when I saw they were online I sent a message saying Hi
this was on an online chat system
Did you take any steps to hide your identity when you were online?
Or say you were someone else?
they immediately said "looking for tonight?"
I was curious to see if they were serious or not as this was absolutely contrary to everything they told me about themselves
we had long extensive talks about not looking for those things and that they wanted the whole white picket fence american dream thing
even up until about 7 Pm today they texted me saying they were on their way
and then nothing
And this person knew your other address (not the one you gave online) correct?
but I didn't go out of my way to contact them
I had plenty of reason to be suspicious
so anyway I asked if they wanted my address and he said "yea lol"
I still wasn't sure if they were joking
I gave them the address to the home I was at which is a family home
Thank you for your information and candor. Again, I want you to understand that I have no reason to doubt what you're telling me is true and this is the way you truly felt. Again, I realize that you have nothing to gain from lying to me. That being said, the police will use the totality of the circumstances to try to establish the "jilted lover" theory. You had a date scheduled, he didn't show up. You texted him, multiple times, and ended with a "if you didn't want to hang out... you could have always said so..."
they had not been there before
you make contact with him (admitedly not going out of your way) and give a different address, not disclosing to him (whom you know to be this person) this is you.
You wait for him to come to the house, he sees you and drives away, and then you call 911.
It seems possible that a jury could determine that this was with intent to harass.
Again, I'm not saying it is. But from the facts that can be presented in this manner, it's possible that a jury could conclude that.
It does have to be established beyond a reasonable doubt.
And your version of the events and your rationale can be considered.
What is actually said on the 911 tape could be very important.
I agree with that
If it's not something like "pull him over" but rather "please make sure he's okay...." then that would help establish your version.
I believe I was pretty erratic on the call as I was just repeating the license plate so I wouldn't forget it
(rather than being intent to harass)
on the call I believe I told the operator that I the person was behaving strangely, caused a commotion at the door and then took off in their car
And the behavior is important, but it might be established that you don't have the proper basis to make such a determination (having known this person for such a short period of time...)
It certainly does go to your intent though.
The only two pieces of evidence the police have to establish motive are my text messages, and one screen shot of the chat screen with him receiving the address
Personally I would first try to argue that this statute does not apply. That is, in 653x (b) it says "An intent to annoy or harass is established by proof of repeated calls over a period of time, however short, that are unreasonable under the circumstances."
even then it can't be proven that it was provided by me
I had 2 idevices stolen from my home 2 weeks ago from a craigslist sale gone bad
which I filed a police report with and have a detective working that case
If you only called 911 once, that's not "repeated" calls. Now this argument might not work, in that the prosecution may say that (b) is not meant to be dispositive, but rather presumptive.
however I believe the balance of good intent vs ill intent is still in my favor
the police were mostly annoyed that I didn't specifically mention to the operator that I knew the person personally
or might have known
If anything, the argument is that while the facts don't look that good, it is certainly not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the intent to harass.
And there's no requirement that you mention that you know the person, although this is often the case that it is mentioned.
You can't lie (such as if you said that you did not know him).
I did not lie
I said it was dark and I couldn't be certain of who I saw
Understood. I'm just saying that it's not illegal to not mention that you do know him.
So let me ask this
the police called me from a blocked number and asked for my name since the operator asked if I wanted to leave a name
I said no it wasn't necessary
I honestly did not want to embarrass the guy
with the whole sexual thing
I just wanted to make sure he was ok to drive
I even told the police this is why I didn't go out of my way to explain the circumstances of my sucpicion
but when they had me handcuffed in their car
which they came to my home to arrest me at 2:14 am
they did not arrest me and issued a citation but I specifically asked what this was about when they came to my home since I told them the matter wasn't critical if they could not locate him
it was literally a warning to the 911 operator
never a GO GET THIS GUY
they asked me to open the door
then asked me to step out and I asked if there was a problem
they said no they just wanted to talk
so I invited them in
then they told me to turn around etc. etc.
I am honestly confused
it seemed like they were looking to pin something on me because they felt like they wasted their time
they never once mentioned harassment until they were trying to figure out what to charge me with
they only mentioned misuse of 911
which I agreed that perhaps 911 wasn't the best route for the warning
seems like I'll need an attorney to sort this mess out
So is there a question that you have?
(when you said "so let me ask this")
chances of this going badly
I would certainly suggest getting an attorney. Of course trying to get it out on the procedural issue of it being only one call, and arguing that this statute "defines" intent as being established after mutliple calls (which did not happen here).
The police don't know the ins and outs of every crime.
Most likely they have a short list of the names of the crime, and "misuse of 911" seemed appropriate.
(in their eyes, even if they were wrong)
Then you can attempt to work something out with the prosecutor.