Austin Swatting Lawyer

Have You Been Arrested for a False Report to Induce Emergency Response?

Swatting, known in Texas as a false report to induce an emergency response, is the act of knowingly making or causing a false emergency or crime report, leading to an emergency response. This type of prank or hoax has grown substantially in popularity in recent years, with a number of politicians being targeted across the country. A conviction for this offense carries heavy penalties and profound consequences. 

Choose an Experienced Swatting Lawyer in Austin

If you're confronted with charges related to swatting, it's important to secure the services of an experienced attorney. The criminal defense lawyers at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, possess years of expertise in defending clients throughout the state of Texas. To arrange a consultation with an Austin swatting attorney, simply contact Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, either by dialing (512) 991-0576 or reaching out online.

Texas Law on False Report to Induce Emergency Response

Under Texas Statutes Section 42.0601, if you intentionally make a false report of a crime or emergency, or cause someone else to make a report, you are potentially committing the offense known as false report to induce emergency response. This law specifically targets situations where the false report is directed to various authorities, including police officers, emergency services like 9-1-1, and other government officials who are in a position to respond to emergencies.

To be found guilty of this offense, several elements must be proven. First, you must have knowingly made a false report, or caused a false report to be made, about a criminal offense or emergency situation. It's not enough for the report to be made; you must be aware that the information you're reporting is not true. Secondly, this false report must lead to an actual emergency response, meaning that law enforcement (e.g., a SWAT team) or other emergency responders take action based on the report you made or caused to be made. Lastly, it needs to be shown that in making or causing the report to be made, you were reckless about the possibility that the emergency response could result in physical harm to someone.

It's important to understand that even if you did not intend for someone to get hurt as a result of the false report, you could still be held accountable. The law recognizes the serious risks and potential for chaos that false reports can create, especially when they involve emergency responders and law enforcement. 

Penalties for Swatting

If you are convicted of making a false report to induce an emergency response under Texas Statutes Section 42.0601, the penalties vary depending on the specific circumstances and the severity of the offense.

Class A Misdemeanor

This is the base level for a false report to induce emergency response offense. If convicted, you could face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

State Jail Felony

If you have been previously convicted two or more times for this offense, it escalates to a state jail felony. For this classification, the penalty can be more severe, ranging from 180 days to 2 years in a state jail facility, with the possibility of a fine up to $10,000.

Third Degree Felony

The offense is classified as a third-degree felony if the false report was of a criminal offense that led to an emergency response, and as a result of actions taken during that response, a person suffered death or serious injury. If you are convicted, the punishment could be 2 to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

Texas law allows for alternative sentencing or programs, especially for lower-level offenses or first-time offenders. These alternatives might include community service, probation, or participation in educational or rehabilitation programs. However, the court has discretion to decide which of these alternatives, if any, can be imposed for a defendant.

Potential Defenses to False Report to Induce Emergency Response Charges

In cases involving charges of making a false report to induce an emergency response, several defenses may be possible depending on the specifics of your case. One potential defense is a lack of knowledge. If you did not know that the report was false, this might be a valid defense, as the law requires that the person making the report knows it is false. Similarly, if you can prove that the report you made or caused to be made was based on a genuine belief or reasonable assumption of an emergency or criminal activity, this might negate the element of the offense requiring knowledge of the report's falsity.

Another possible defense revolves around intent and recklessness. The law requires that, in making or causing the report, you were reckless about the potential for the emergency response to result in bodily injury. If you can demonstrate that you had no reckless disregard for the safety of others — that is, you did not foresee and disregard a substantial risk of causing a response — this might form the basis of a defense.

Misidentification or misunderstanding could also be a defense in some situations. If you can show that you were incorrectly identified as the person who made or caused the false report, or if there was a significant misunderstanding about the content or intention of your report, these facts could potentially be used in your defense.

Finally, any violation of your rights during the investigation or in the legal process could also provide a basis for defense. For instance, if the evidence against you was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, this might be grounds for having that evidence excluded from consideration in your case.

Role of a Swatting Lawyer in Austin, TX

If you are charged with making a false report to induce an emergency response, a criminal defense lawyer plays an important role in your defense. They know the legal system and can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. They will scrutinize the evidence against you, looking for any inconsistencies or violations of your rights that could be used in your defense. Moreover, they will represent you in court, argue on your behalf, and aim to achieve the best possible outcome for your situation, whether that's negotiating a plea deal or fighting for an acquittal.

Frequently Asked Questions About False Report to Induce Emergency Response

What is swatting (false report to induce emergency response)?
It's making or causing a false report of a crime or emergency, knowing it's false and leading to an emergency response.

Is it always a felony to make a false report?
Not always. It can be a misdemeanor, but repeat offenses or causing harm can escalate it to a felony.

Do I need to have intended harm to be charged?
No, reckless disregard for the potential of causing harm is enough.

Can I be charged if I didn't make the call but caused someone else to?
Yes, causing a false report can also result in charges.

What should I do if I’m falsely accused of this crime?
Contact a criminal defense lawyer to discuss your case and potential defenses.

Can charges be pressed if the false report didn’t lead to any harm?
Yes, charges can be based on the potential for harm, not just actual harm.

Will I go to jail if convicted?
Not necessarily. Alternatives may include probation or community service, depending on the case specifics.

Contact Our Austin Swatting Attorneys Today

If you're facing charges for making a false report to induce an emergency response, it's important to have a skilled attorney by your side. Criminal defense lawyers at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC have years of experience in defending clients across the state of Texas. Contact Cofer & Connelly, PLLC by calling (512) 991-0576 or contacting us online for a consultation with a swatting lawyer. Our team is dedicated to providing a strong defense and guiding you through every step of your case.

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