What Does Making a False Alarm Mean?

When you call 911 to report a crime, fire, or another emergency, you do so knowing that the police or fire department will respond quickly to remedy the problem. However, if you call for an emergency response knowing that the report you’re making is not true, you could be charged with the crime of making false alarms.

What Actions Are Prohibited?

O.R.C. 2917.32 is the Ohio law that makes it illegal for anyone to knowingly make a false report of an emergency.

It provides that making a false report of any of the following is prohibited:

  • A fire, explosion, crime, or another catastrophe that could result in a public inconvenience or alarm
  • An emergency that could cause injury
  • An offense or other incident that would result in a response from law enforcement

Let’s say you got into an argument with your roommate. You are upset with them and don’t want them back in your apartment. To keep them from coming inside, you call the cops and tell them that someone is breaking into your home.

At the time of the call, you don’t mention that the “someone” is your roommate who has a lawful reason to be at the residence and isn’t actually breaking in. When officers arrive on the scene and question your roommate, they find that an offense isn’t being committed and you falsely reported a crime.

In this situation, you could be facing a charge for making false alarms.

What’s the Sentence for Making False Alarms in Ohio?

When you make a false alarm, you cause an emergency response agency to expend resources on an incident that isn’t happening. As such, engaging in such conduct is considered a serious offense.

Depending on the circumstances, making a false alarm can be either a misdemeanor or felony. Either way, the penalties you could face for a conviction are harsh.

The possible punishments that could be imposed are as follows:

  • Making a false alarm: Generally, this offense is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. A conviction could result in up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Causing economic harm between $1,000 and $7,500: This is a fifth-degree felony. The penalties include up to 1 year in prison and/or up to $2,500 in fines.
  • Causing economic harm between $7,500 and $150,000: In this situation, a fourth-degree felony charge could be levied against an alleged offender. Punishments include up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Causing economic harm of $150,000 or more: This offense is a third-degree felony. A person could also face this level and degree of charge if the false alarm includes a report of a weapon of mass destruction being involved in the incident. A conviction for a third-degree felony results in up to 3 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

If you are charged with making false alarms, the potential impact on your future is substantial. To fight the allegations made against you, you need an aggressive lawyer on your side.

At Rion, Rion & Rion, our Dayton attorneys have over 80 years of combined experience and will fight relentlessly on your behalf. Learn more by calling us at (937) 223-9133 or contacting us online today!

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