Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S. 13-2915, Preventing Use of a Telephone in an Emergency occurs when a person is denied when asking or trying to use a telephone in order to help the authorities respond to an emergency or an emergency situation.
The statute defines an “emergency” as a situation in which property or human life is in jeopardy and a prompt summoning of aid is essential. The statute also defines an “emergency situation” to include the above definition and when it is reasonable to believe that a domestic violence offense is being, has been or is about to be committed.
Possible Punishment for Preventing Use of a Telephone in an Emergency
If a person is convicted of knowingly Preventing a Person from Using a Telephone During an Emergency or a domestic violence situation, then they can be found guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. A Class 2 misdemeanor carries up to 120 days in jail and a $1,500 fine with an 84% surcharge. The real risk is if a “DV” or Domestic Violence designation is attached to the charge, this can then prevent a person from owning a firearm. It also has repercussions on security clearance designations, fingerprint clearance cards and on future employment opportunities regarding the Defendant.
Possible Defenses for Preventing Use of a Telephone in an Emergency
One of the most common defenses we use when defending a charge of Preventing the Use of a Telephone During an Emergency situation involves looking into the “totality of the circumstances” to determine if there was a true “prevention of use.” Many times during a Domestic Violence dispute, criminal damage is also involved. This can include plates being thrown, cell phones being smashed, and other items being damaged. When a person is merely trying to prevent their phone from being taken, broken, or they are preventing the other person from potentially throwing a phone or using it as a weapon against them, then this would fall under “self-defense” or “defense of property.” Also, many times, the person who was attempting to use the phone, broke the phone themselves and is later claiming that they were being prevented from using it to call 911.
Finally, nowhere in the statute does it require a person to let somebody into their home in order to use a telephone. This is actually delineated in the statute as an exception to the charge.
Additionally, because our law firm fights convictions from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges regarding constitutional violations which can apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda Rights Violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement, (i.e., a statement which intends to admit guilt) is only admissible into evidence-based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or an inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read your Miranda rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, “Denial of Right to Counsel,” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied that request and the questioning continues.
Other defenses which can be used in more serious cases may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, urine testing; finger-print analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gun-shot residue testing; computer analysis/cloning hard-drive procedures; forensic and financial accounting reviews; etc.
Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which includes everything from misstatements, false statements and flawed photo lineups to witness identification procedures and inaccurate crime-scene reconstruction.
It is important to hire an experienced Prevention of Use of a Telephone in an Emergency defense attorney in order to properly and successfully defend this charge. The ramifications of having a domestic violence designation attached to this charge are so serious that a conviction of this type often results in the loss of a professional license, a loss of security clearance, denial of fingerprint card clearance, etc. To view some of our Preventing Use of a Telephone in an Emergency wins, visit our case victories page Preventing Use of a Telephone in an Emergency.