Making a false alarm is against the law. When a person knowingly communicates or passes on to others a report of a current, past, or future bombing, fire, crime, or another emergency, when they know the report is baseless or false, they may be guilty of a false alarm or report. This is true when the report would meet one of three additional conditions, as follows:
- The report causes an action or actions by either an official or volunteer agency designed to deal with such emergencies, such as law enforcement, or a volunteer fire brigade;
- The report puts people in immediate fear of serious bodily injury; or
- The false report results in either preventing or interrupting the use of a given building, room, place where people tend to gather or have public access, or a plane, car, or other means of transportation.
The severity of this offense is based on the location of the reported false emergency, not the location where the report or communication was made. For example, if the falsely reported emergency involves a school; public transportation; public supplies of water, gas, and power; other public services; or public communications, the offense is codified as a state jail felony. This is punishable by up to two years in jail, with a minimum sentence of 180 days in jail. If the falsely reported emergency involves another location, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punished by fines up to $4000.00 and up to a year in jail.
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Texas Penal Code Sec. 42.06
FALSE ALARM OR REPORT
(a) A person commits an offense if he knowingly initiates, communicates or circulates a report of a present, past, or future bombing, fire, offense, or other emergency that he knows is false or baseless and that would ordinarily:
(1) cause action by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies;
(2) place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or
(3) prevent or interrupt the occupation of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, or aircraft, automobile, or other mode of conveyance.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless the false report is of an emergency involving a public primary or secondary school, public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public service, in which event the offense is a state jail felony.