False Report To Induce Emergency Response: Texas Penal Code §42.0601

Texas Criminal Law

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The Texas False Report To Induce Emergency Response law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you were responsible for making a false report of a criminal offense or an emergency to law enforcement, 9-1-1, or any other governmental employee, and the report caused an emergency response and you were reckless about whether that response could cause someone to be injured.

The legislature created this criminal offense 2021 in the wake of a rash of high-profile “swatting” (also known as “spoofing“) incidents across the country. The legislature codified the offense at Texas Penal Code Section 42.0601. No updates were made to this law in 2023.

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This offense requires more than just a typical “prank 911 call” – that kind of activity is already criminalized elsewhere, such as Silent or Abusive Calls to 9-1-1 Service or False Alarm or Report. To get a conviction for this offense requries the state to prove that you actually caused an emergency response and that you were reckless with regard to whether the response might injure someone. Because of the more serious nature of the this offense, it can carry a much more serious penalty.

The Penal Code classifies the Texas False Report To Induce Emergency Response law under Title 9 “Offenses Against Public Order and Decency,” Chapter 42 “Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses.” Learn more about the Texas offense of False Report To Induce Emergency Response below.

What is the current Texas law about False Report To Induce Emergency Response?

The current Texas law defines the offense of False Report To Induce Emergency Response in Penal Code Section §42.0601 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if:

(1) the person makes a report of a criminal offense or an emergency or causes a report of a criminal offense or an emergency to be made to a peace officer, law enforcement agency, 9-1-1 service as defined by Section 771.001, Health and Safety Code, official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies, or any other governmental employee or contractor who is authorized to receive reports of a criminal offense or emergency;

(2) the person knows that the report is false;

(3) the report causes an emergency response from a law enforcement agency or other emergency responder; and

(4) in making the report or causing the report to be made, the person is reckless with regard to whether the emergency response by a law enforcement agency or other emergency responder may directly result in bodily injury to another person.

This law was created by the 87th Texas Legislature in 2021, and it is effective as of September 1, 2021.[2]

How can I be charged with a False Report To Induce Emergency Response offense in Texas?

You can be charged with False Report To Induce Emergency Response in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 42.0601 as described in the section above have been met.

What is the statute of limitation for False Report To Induce Emergency Response in Texas?

Misdemeanor level False Report To Induce Emergency Response charges have a two-year limitations period.[3] Felony level offenses have a three-year limitations period.[4]

What is the penalty for a Texas False Report To Induce Emergency Response offense?

If emergency responders acted on the false report and someone suffered serious bodily injury or death as a direct result of lawful conduct arising out of that response, the offense is punished as a third degree felony.[5]

Otherwise, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor, unless you have two or more previous convictions for the same offense, in which case it is punished as a state jail felony.[6]

Can you get probation for False Report To Induce Emergency Response in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for False Report To Induce Emergency Response, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[7]

Note, however, that no matter the offense, neither judges nor juries may recommend community supervision for any suspended sentence of over 10 years.[8] Also, judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.[9]

What level of crime is False Report To Induce Emergency Response in Texas?

The Penal Code classifies False Report To Induce Emergency Response as a Class A misdemeanor, a state jail felony or a third degree felony, depending on the circumstances.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.


^1. Texas Penal Code §42.0601. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. S.B. 1056, 87th Texas Legislature, Section 1, effective September 1, 2021^3. Code of Criminal Procedure 12.02(a)^4. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(9)^5. Texas Penal Code §42.0601(b)(2)^6. Texas Penal Code §42.0601(b)(1)^7. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^8. Art. 42A.053(c), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure^9. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure

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