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Consequences of Making Annoying Phone Calls in California

To you making an annoying phone call might not seem like a big deal. In fact, it’s something many of us did when we were bored teenagers. If you did, hopefully, you outgrew the prank because in this day and age, making an annoying phone call in California is a misdemeanor. That’s right! Each time you pick up the phone and place an annoying call, you’re breaking the law.

Most of the annoying phone call incidents that generate police attention are either obscene or threatening, the victim is truly threatened and/or terrified. That doesn’t mean prank calls are allowed. A person is free to contact the police if they are getting irritating phone calls when those calls happen over and over again.

According to California law, the following three types of calls violate Penal Code 653m PC:

  • Calls that include unmistakable threats
  • Calls that are riddled with unwanted obscene language
  • Repeated/frequent calls (in this case, it’s all about repetition, not content)

It’s important to understand that making annoying phone calls in California isn’t an infraction. It’s a misdemeanor, which means a conviction will result in you getting a permanent criminal record. If you’re convicted, you could be sentenced to spending six months in jail and/or charged a $1,000 fine.

Phone calls aren’t the only way you can violate Penal Code 653m PC.

Other things that fall into the category of annoying phone calls include:

  • Text messages
  • Unwanted emails
  • Letters sent via fax
  • Unsolicited smartphone photos

The best way to avoid getting charged with annoying phone calls is to stop and consider if you would consider the call annoying, threatening, or repetitive. If you would, don’t make the call.