In 2018 – the Colorado State Legislature ennacted a new kind of False Reporting law to punish those who make “fake” 911 calls creating phony emergencies.
What Is “Swatting?”
The practice is called “swatting” because, in some cases, the intent of the alleged perpetrator is to lure a SWAT team to the location. “Swatting” involves actually creating the image of a fake emergency, which can include elements such as a report of a live shooter or of a hostage situation.
Under the new law, making a false report under these circumstances is a Class 1 misdemeanor but the law also creates enhanced and separate crimes if the false report results in an evacuation, an injury or a death. Senate Bill 68 increases the sentencing penalties depending on if physical harm or danger to public safety results.
For example if the false report leads to bodily injury it could become a Class 6 or Class 4 felony depending on the injury and if the false report results in death, it can be charged as a Class 3 felony. The new law also has a provision for the repayment of the costs of the emergency response.
Before the creation of the new law, these actions would have been subsumed under the general crime of false reporting to authorities 18-8-111. The new law criminalizing such acts as false reporting to authorities that includes a false report of an imminent threat to the safety of a person or persons by use of a deadly weapon.
Where Can The Crime Be Prosecuted?
“Venue” and jurisdiction are names for where charges for crimes can be filed. In the case of the crime of false reporting to authorities or the crime of false reporting of an emergency, the person charged with committing these crimes can be prosecuted either in the county where:
(1) The Defendant made the report,
(2) The county where the false report was actually communicated to law enforcement, (such as where the cell phone call was made), or
(3) The county where law enforcement was compelled to respond to the false report.
Finally, for the entire statute, including the swatting provisions – please follow this link taken from the Justia website – so that you can analyze the various sections directly from the law.
While being charged with the crime of False Reporting – “Swatting” in Colorado can sometimes cloud your judgement – it won’t cloud ours…. if you are under investigation or charged with the Colorado crime of False Reporting 18-8-111, please don’t hesitate to call our firm for a free consultation. 303.627.7777.