New Louisiana law makes interfering with emergency communication illegal

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BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – (8/4/19) A recent domestic violence incident where a man was arrested for pushing his live-in girlfriend, taking her phone and smashing it to the ground has prompted a reminder from the Bossier Parish Sheriff that interfering with emergency communication is now a crime.

In a statement from Bossier Sherrif Julian Whittington released Wednesday, he states the incident that led to the Bossier man’s arrest eliminated the victim’s ability to contact law enforcement via her cell phone.

Whittington highlighted Louisiana Revised Statute 14:338, in the release which will make it a crime to interfere with emergency communication efforts starting August 1. The new law states:

“A crime is committed when a person disconnects, damages, disables, removes, or uses physical force or intimidation to block access to any telephone or telecommunications device with intent to interfere or prevent an individual from doing any of the following:

(1) Using a 911 emergency telephone number. 
(2) Obtaining medical assistance. 
(3) Making a report to any law enforcement officer.

“Telecommunications device” shall mean any type of instrument, device, or machine that is capable of transmitting or receiving telephonic, electronic, radio, text, or data communications, including but not limited to a cellular telephone, a text-messaging device, a personal digital assistant, a computer, or any other similar wireless device that is designed to engage in a call or communicate text or data.”

Anyone who commits this crime will either be fined no more than $500, imprisoned for no more than six months, or both.

Under the new law, Whittington said, this additional charge would be added to the other charges of simple battery, simple criminal property damage, and domestic abuse battery the man already faced in the recent domestic incident.

“This new law received overwhelming legislative support and will provide another element of protection for victims of crime, to include domestic violence, sexual assault, or medical calls,” said Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington. “We want to help victims of crime and further punish those who harm others.”

Under the new law, additional charges will be added to the other charges of simple battery, simple criminal property damage, and domestic abuse battery.

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