Previously on this blog, we have written about how misuse of the 911 emergency line can lead to arrest and criminal charges. The 911 system is designed to keep communities safe; when a community’s 911 lines and resources are tied-up with non-emergency matters, the safety of that community is compromised.
As our Delray Beach and Hollywood criminal defense lawyers know, you should always feel comfortable dialing 911 in the event of an emergency. However, as one man from Palm Beach County recently learned, dialing 911 when there isn’t an emergency can get you arrested.
Earlier this month, a man in his late fifties apparently dialed 911 from a parking lot on Military Trail just west of West Palm Beach. When authorities arrived, his story of an alleged assault didn’t quite add up; neither did the the strange request he made toward the end of the encounter.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach County deputies said they received a call very early one Monday morning earlier this month, at around 2:00 AM, from a drunk man in his late fifties, claiming he had been attacked. When the officers arrived at the parking lot from which the call was placed, they saw no injuries on the man who had called 911. The caller told police he had been assaulted, but was unable to provide any details about what happened or what the attacker even looked like. (Remember, when one is inebriated, the ability to recall certain bits of information can be increasingly difficult; in other words, just because he could not recall details of an attack while he was inebriated doesn’t mean the attack never took place.)
Anyway, as our our Delray Beach and Hollywood criminal defense lawyers know, after being unable to give them details about the attack, the intoxicated man asked deputies for a ride; they declined, informed him that he should not call 911 unless there is a true emergency, and told him to leave the plaza parking lot. When the deputies went to leave the parking lot, the man began to curse at the officers, before pulling out his cell phone and calling 911 again to report that he had allegedly been assaulted (apparently after being warned that calling 911 without an emergency is unlawful).
When the officers noticed he was again calling 911 to report an assault (that they believed never took place, based on his lack of information about the alleged attack) they arrested the man, but not before he requested, yet again, a free ride. Upon arrest, he was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail and as been charged with misuse of the 911 emergency system.
Our Delray Beach and Hollywood criminal defense lawyers recognize that the officers, and the general public, should not have and still should not necessarily discount the man’s story of having been assaulted simply because he couldn’t provide information. Security cameras in the plaza parking lot might justify his 911 calls, for them might in fact show the alleged assault that the caller was unable to remember. On the other hand, it is possible that the drunk man just called 911 in the hopes of having officers arrive and drive him somewhere, as he asked them to do.
If you have any questions about this story or if you have been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you.