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Interfering with Emergency Communication in North Carolina

There are certain types of criminal charges in North Carolina that can have long-term consequences in DVPO Domestic Violence Protective Orders and Family Law legal issues. While all felony or misdemeanor criminal charges in NC are serious, there are fact patterns that may exacerbate an already bad situation. One of those more serious allegations of criminal charges is § 14-286.2 - Interfering with emergency communication in North Carolina.

“While Domestic Violence charges can be felony or misdemeanor charges in North Carolina, depending on what happened, A1 misdemeanors are among the most serious in the legal system. That’s because they are consequential in both civil court and criminal court.” Bill Powers, NC Criminal Defense Lawyer and Family Law Attorney

Police Call 911

Clearly, interfering with 911 communication in North Carolina is not always associated with domestic violence charges. At the same time, it is a type of case Defense Lawyers and Family Law Attorneys see in Domestic Violence Court, together with things like:

It’s one thing to become involved in a physical altercation that may result in injury or harm. Preventing assistance by police, fire, or medics for medical care, treatment, or to prevent further harm or damage, may indicate a higher level of violence, intentionality, and therefore criminality.

Interfering with emergency communication in North Carolina is a Class A1 misdemeanor criminal charge in North Carolina, carrying a maximum term of imprisonment up to 150 days. Aggravated (A1) misdemeanors are the most serious (highest) level misdemeanor criminal charges in North Carolina and include, but are not limited to, allegations of criminal charges such as Assault with Deadly Weapon and Assault on Law Enforcement.

Listen to Law Talk with Bill Powers Podcast - Domestic Violence Charges in NC

Can Criminal Charges Also Result in a Restraining Order or DVPO Domestic Violence Protective Order?

Yes. In addition to criminal charges like Assault on Female and communicating threats, interfering with a 911 call may end up being one of the allegations in a civil court petition for DVPO pursuant to N.C.G.S. Chapter 50 or Chapter 50B. Protective Orders (Retraining Orders) may also be granted, under Chapter 50C, when the fact pattern does not qualify under the NC domestic violence laws.

For more information about DVPO Domestic Violence Protective Orders in North Carolina, click here.

What Is an Emergency Communication in North Carolina? Prision

Instances that relate to someone who reasonably believes themselves (or someone else) to be in imminent danger of bodily injury may fall under the NC Criminal Laws regarding emergency communications. The law also applies to people believing either their property, or property owned by someone else, is in imminent danger of theft, destruction, substantial damage, or injury.

The interference with emergency communications in North Carolina must be intentional and not accidental.

Intentional interference may include hiding a phone or making emergency equipment unavailable or unworkable to the person trying to call for help (911). It is one of the more broadly-written criminal laws in North Carolina and may also include giving false information about a call, cancelling a call, hanging up a call, or making a false indication that emergency help is no longer needed or 911 was dialed by mistake.

Key takeaways about what the State of North Carolina must prove:

  • Intentional – Intent to Prevent Emergency Communication
  • Interference – Interfere with Emergency Equipment or Instrument
  • Emergency Communication and Knowledge of Emergency Communication
  • The Defendant did NOT institute the Emergency Communication

The criminal charge of Interfering with emergency communication in North Carolina

is separate and distinct from Misuse of 911 system under NC Criminal Laws § 14-111.4

Misuse of 911 is a Class 1 misdemeanor criminal charge in North Carolina and carries a maximum period of imprisonment of up to 120 days incarceration. It is illegal in North Carolina, for a person not seeking assistance from public safety (fire, police, or medic) or who is not providing emergency assistance or responding to call for service, to access the North Carolina 911 system.

Only emergency communications are allowed. Misuse of 911 in NC must be intentional and not accidental.

Can Injury to Personal Property Criminal Charges Also Result in Interfering with Emergency Communication in North Carolina?

Yes, the essential elements are different under the NC criminal laws. Smashing or damaging a telephone being used to call 911 (or other emergency services provider) may be used to prosecute and prove what happened Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

Those same allegations of criminal charges may also serve as a basis for the entry of a Protective Order under the Civil Court system. Indeed, if a Protective Order is already in place prohibiting further acts of domestic violence, Interfering with 911 communications may constitute a separate criminal charge for violating the 50B Order and/or serve as a basis for Contempt of Court for violating an Order of the Court.


The defense attorneys at our firm are here to help. Domestic violence charges and other crimes of violence deserve prompt attention from a criminal defense lawyer.

It’s imperative to begin your defense now, as there may be legal consequences in both civil court or criminal court. Defense lawyers will want to work to immediately investigate the criminal charges, including reviewing police reports, witness statements, Petitions for Domestic Violence, and associated medical documentation (when available).

Call NBTA Board-Certified Criminal Law Specialist Bill Powers NOW: 704-342-4357

You may also reach Defense Lawyer Bill Powers directly at: Bill@342HELP.com

Our criminal defense law firm provides a FREE CASE EVALUATION for criminal charges in Charlotte NC, Monroe NC, Iredell County, NC and for all allegations of criminal charges in North Carolina. Defense Attorney Chris Beddow is also licensed in South Carolina and North Carolina. They provide legal assistance for allegations of criminal charges in South Carolina and DUI charges in South Carolina. Legal consultations for defense attorneys in Rock Hill, SC are also FREE OF CHARGE. Bill Powers is licensed only in North Carolina and serves as lead legal counsel for the firm in criminal legal matters in NC.

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