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Penal Code 653y: Harassing a Person by calling 911 Laws in California

PC 653y: Harassing a Person by calling 911 Laws

Legal Definition:

PC 653y(b): “Knowingly allowing the use of or using the 911 emergency system for the purpose of harassing another is a crime that is punishable…”

For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 653y the prosecution must show that:

  1. You knowingly used the 911 telephone system;


  1. You did this for the purpose of harassing another person.

What does this mean?

It is not harassment to call 911 in an actual emergency situation. For purposes of this section, “emergency” means any condition in which emergency services will result in the saving of a life, a reduction in the destruction of property, quicker apprehension of criminals, or assistance with potentially life-threatening medical problems, a fire, a need for rescue, an imminent potential crime, or a similar situation in which immediate assistance is required.

This can commonly happen where a person, in a family law custody issue or divorce, tries to get the upper-hand in those proceedings by making numerous calls to police, to get reports to use. Many times this can turn into false domestic violence arrests, and then they are cited as reasons for one to win custody. However, a person caught up in trying to do this, in non-emergency matters, simply to harass another, then that person can be found in violation of this crime here.


Prior to 2021, this charge was an Infraction only, but that changed. A violation under PC 653y is a wobblette, meaning you can be charged with an infraction or a misdemeanor offense. If convicted of this charge as an infraction, you could end up paying a fine of up to $250. If convicted of this charge as a misdemeanor, you can be sentenced to up to 6 months in a County Jail. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You would also be required to pay a fine of up to $1000.

A second offense under this section when you have a prior PC 653y(b), becomes a misdemeanor only offense, with the same punishments as a first offender misdemeanor conviction.

PC 653y is not a strike offense under the Three Strikes Law, and it is also not a charge requiring Sex Registration under PC 290. You could potentially face a loss, suspension, or revocation of your professional license. You could also face immigration consequences if you are a non-US Citizen living in the United States, since if you have more than one misdemeanor conviction on your record already.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of Rights
  4. Duress

You cannot be found guilty of a crime if you acted under Duress. A person acts under duress if, because of a threat or menace, you believed that you or someone else’s life would be in immediate danger if you refused a demand or request to commit the crimes. In other words, if you are forced into calling 911 against a person because of a threat via a 3rd party, then that can act as a defense for yourself in your criminal matter. In this sense, you were forced into committing a crime, but only if you did so under a threat of immediate danger by that third party.

If your purpose for calling 911 is an actual emergency situation, it is not a crime, simply because the other party feels harassed. This section is criminalizing fake phone calls or calls in non-emergency situations to annoy or harass someone, not for legitimate calls. If there is evidence of an actual emergency situation, then your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney can argue that there is insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of this charge.

Call Today

The ramifications of a criminal conviction stretch far beyond the immediate implications of potential jail time; they permeate every facet of your life, notably affecting your employment opportunities and casting a long-lasting shadow over your future. A conviction on your criminal record can significantly hinder your ability to secure work, impacting your livelihood and your family’s wellbeing.

At Inland Empire Criminal Defense, our PC 653y Ontario attorney has a proven track record of successfully defending thousands of individuals facing similar legal challenges. We understand the critical importance of a vigorous defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances, emphasizing the need for meticulous legal representation to navigate through these charges.

Why Opt for Inland Empire Criminal Defense for PC 653y Charges?

  • Experienced Legal Representation: Our attorney specializing in PC 653y brings years of experience and a history of successful outcomes, ensuring that your case benefits from expert legal counsel.
  • Tailored Aggressive Defense: We believe that every case deserves a robust defense strategy, customized to confront the specific details and challenges of your situation.
  • Dedicated Support: Recognizing the importance of accessible legal support, we offer a complimentary initial consultation and ensure that we’re available 24/7 to address any questions or concerns you may have.

Begin Your Defense Journey with Confidence

The potential consequences of a conviction under PC 653y underscore the necessity for immediate, strategic legal action. Inland Empire Criminal Defense, situated in Ontario, CA, is prepared to offer the specialized legal support necessary to effectively challenge these charges, providing you with the defense and advocacy needed during this pivotal time.

Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense Today

If you’re facing charges under PC 653y, don’t navigate this complex legal landscape alone. Reach out to Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 to schedule your free initial consultation. Our dedicated team is ready to provide you with the expert legal counsel and unwavering support necessary to protect your rights, your freedom, and your future. Let our expertise and commitment work to your advantage.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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