The state of Louisiana does not want people to interfere with emergency communication, If they do, it is now a crime due to a law that takes effect on August 1, 2019.

A recent example in Bossier Parish shows why this law is needed:

Bossier Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies were recently involved in a domestic violence call in which the male arrestee pushed his live-in girlfriend and then took her cell phone and smashed it on the ground, eliminating her ability to contact law enforcement via her cell phone. 

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

Because of incidents like the one described above, Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington said he is especially interested in wanting to remind people about the new state law.

The law, Louisiana Revised Statute 14:338, provides that the 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 the specific 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.

The law states:
"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.

Persons who commit this new law crime shall be either fined not more than $500, imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

“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.”