Individuals in California are supposed to be protected from harassment. For this reason, it’s against the law in California to threaten individuals by calling them repeatedly. This action can be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 653(m): Annoying Phone Calls.
Make sure you understand the different aspects of PC 653m by going over this article. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can help you focus on the penalties for a PC 653m conviction. You can even review some legal defenses used for annoying phone call charges.
Review the Definition of Annoying Phone Calls
Merely calling someone to ask them an annoying question is not enough to result in PC 653m charges in the state of California. Instead, an individual must:
- Utilize a Phone or Electronic Communication Device To
- Send Messages or Make Calls That Are Repeated, Threatening, or Obscene
- While Intended to Annoy or Harass Another Person.
Note that – while PC 653m specifically refers to phone calls – any form of electronic communication can lead to these charges. Individuals may be convicted for sending threatening or obscene faxes, emails, text messages, or instant messages.
Consider Charges Similar to Annoying Phone Calls
Calling another person to annoy or threaten them is only one example of harassment. The court system in California can prosecute individuals for other acts of harassment, including:
- California Penal Code Section 273.6: Violating a Restraining Order.
- California Penal Code Section 422: Making Criminal Threats.
- California Penal Code Section 646.9: Stalking.
Many of these charges may apply in cases involving domestic violence in the state of California. Acts of harassment involving current or previous romantic partners can result in fines and jail time.
Review Examples of PC 653m Violations
Go over these examples to increase your understanding of charges for making annoying phone calls in Los Angeles:
Man A just broke up with his girlfriend. He’s very angry and can’t move on. He calls her repeatedly, sometimes begging her to come back and other times threatening her if she does not. She reports this behavior to the police. He could be convicted of making annoying phone calls due to the repeated and threatening nature of their communication.
Man B and his friends regularly send one another messages where they threaten to do one another serious harm. However, it is part of a running joke in their group. Man B’s girlfriend sees the messages one day and becomes concerned, reporting the issue. Man B and his friends shouldn’t be convicted under PC 653m, since none of them intended to harass the others.
Man C has a falling out with his family. He takes out his frustration by sending mass emails to everyone involved, including threats and obscene language. While he did not make a phone call, he could be prosecuted under PC 653m.
Go Over the Penalties for PC 653m Violations in California
Individuals in California can face misdemeanor charges for making annoying phone calls. The exact penalties for a PC 653m conviction can include:
- Fines of Up to $1,000.
- Jail Time of Up to Six Months.
You should be aware that these penalties may also apply to an individual who allows their telephone or electronic communication device to be used for making annoying phone calls.
Focus on the Legal Defenses for PC 653m Charges
Make sure you’re ready to handle PC 653m charges by reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles today. A legal professional can go over the specific facts surrounding your case to build your defense. Based on your situation, your lawyer could work to demonstrate that:
You Didn’t Intend to Annoy or Harass the Recipient
You should only be charged under PC 653m if you acted intentionally to harass or annoy another person. If you were only trying to joke around with a friend, or your intentions were otherwise misconstrued, you could be able to avoid a conviction for making annoying phone calls.
Your Phone Call or Message Didn’t Include Obscene Language
Individuals may be charged under PC 653m for making repeated, obscene, or threatening calls. If you are accused of including obscene language in your message, a lawyer could be able to defend you. This is because California’s definition of obscene language is narrow.
Speak with a Legal Professional Regarding Annoying Phone Calls
You can get professional help handling California Penal Code Section 653(m): Annoying Phone Calls charges. Just contact the Simmrin Law Group today by completing our online contact form or calling 310-991-4688. We’re ready to start working on your defense right now.
Find out more about your legal options with a FREE consultation from our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles.