As a teen and young adult, almost everyone makes a few youthful mistakes. A common mistake often includes a prank phone call at some point or another. While this may not seem like a serious crime, such a prank can actually land the prank caller in some hot water. In fact, there are a few laws that can be used to prosecute a prank caller.
While most prank calls are intended to be harmless, the person at the other end of the call may not feel the same way. They may feel anxious or scared, especially as hate crimes continue to be on the rise. Any racial or ethnical speech during the call can leave a person of a minority to fear for their personal safety, especially if they have been the victim of a hate crime in the past. This is just one of the reasons the police take these calls so seriously.
Laws Used for Prosecuting Prank Callers
If you make a call to a person who is out of state, you could be charged with a federal crime. Because the federal government regulates calls across state lines, the police may request involvement with the federal agencies. So, although your prank call may have been a joke, this type of prank call may be the most serious of them all. Because you would beviolating a federal statute, this crime is also a felony. Felony convictions can prevent you from getting a job, going to college, getting your own apartment, getting a loan, and much more.
Other laws used to prosecute a prank caller may include any of the following:
Disorderly Conduct – Generally this charge is one that a prosecutor will rely on if the individual’s behavior was abusive toward another person. This also would include a prank call that involves abusive or offensive language or a threat.
Stalking or Harassment – When a prank call is just one call, it may not seem like a big deal, but repetitive or ongoing prank calls can actually reach the level of stalking or harassment. When a prank caller reaches the same recipient over and over, or they call in a way that interferes with the person’s regular life, such as odd hours of the night, this can qualify as stalking or harassment.
Wiretapping – More and more crimes are happening on social medial and some people who make prank calls may do it and share the call on social media. In some states it is against the law to record a phone call without obtaining the consent of another person. Doing this type of activity may result inwiretapping charges.
Hate Crimes – People that identify with certain races, religions, or sexual orientations have frequently been the target of attacks. Because of this, police take threats of hate crimes very seriously. If you prank call a person and harass them based on their minority demographic, you could face hate crime charges.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing criminal charges due to a prank phone call, or other incident, contact the attorneys atAbel Law Firm today. Our attorneys will review your situation and advise you of your legal rights and options.