Damaging Phone Lines

If you have been accused of criminally damaging a phone line or a related crime in the state of Nevada, do not hesitate to reach out for help to an experienced criminal defense attorney. While typically charged along with some other more serious crime, even a solo charge of damaging phone lines can have serious consequences upon a conviction.

At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, LLC, we have deep experience in defending against this class of criminal charge and against all related charges. We have successfully defended numerous other clients in Las Vegas, Clark County, and throughout the state of Nevada and stand ready to do the same for you!

Contact us anytime, 24/7 365 days a year, for a free legal consultation and immediate attention to your case. Call us at 702-380-4278 today!

Damaging Phone Lines as A Criminal Charge

One might not think off hand that "damaging phone lines" sounds like the name of a criminal offense, but in Nevada as well as in many other states, it is. The fact is, destroying phone lines and other electronic equipment in an attempt to isolate a victim is often a part of other crimes, like domestic violence, burglary, or kidnapping.

When one disconnects, removes, or damages phone wires or any cables or electrical equipment that affect the ability of another person in the house to use the phone to call for help, it can be a specific crime if it is done unlawfully and/or with malicious intent -that is, if there was intent to physically harm another person or commit some other wrongful act.

Penalties tend to be more severe for damaging a phone line when committed in order to enable domestic violence or another crime. But even a simple solo act can be charged under Nevada's vandalism and destruction of private property laws.

Here are some example scenarios of damaging phone lines crimes:

  • After breaking into a home at night, immediately, the trespasser cuts the phone line so he can safely steal expensive jewelry, cash, and other valuables without fear of the homeowner waking up and calling the police.
  • John gets into a heated conversation with his wife and makes criminal threats. When she goes to grab the phone, he hits her forcefully in the face. Then, he cuts the phone lines so she can't report the incident. 
  • Janet babysits three kids on weekends. She starts sexually abusing one of them, and when the victim's sister says she will call Mom and Dad, she smashes the landline phone to pieces with a baseball bat.
  • While in a hotel room with his girlfriend, Randy decides they are going to have sexual relations, but his girlfriend resists. He then locks the door, draws the curtains, and cuts the hotel's phone line to enable him to commit rape without detection.

These are the sorts of accusation you are likely to face in conjunction with that of cutting a phone line or damaging other equipment so as to disable a phone. But there are also other explanations for why a damaging phone lines allegation might be made. Here are some "counter examples:"

  • No phone lines were actually damaged - it was a completely fabricated story. Or, the "victim" damaged them and then tried to pin it on the defendant.
  • Someone else damaged the phone line. Maybe a kid did it or maybe a burglar or an electrician (by accident). But it wasn't you.
  • You damaged the phone or phone line accidentally while you were trying to fix it. And whatever domestic dispute or other incident came up later had nothing to do with why the line was broken.
  • You had cut the telephone line earlier because you were angry that the phone bills were too high. It was done to save money and send a message about moderate use of the phone but not for any criminal purpose.

Damaging a phone line can be a misdemeanor or a felony charge in Nevada, depending largely on the motive for the crime and the defendant's past criminal record. Penalties include fines of hundreds to thousands of dollars, time in county jail or in state prison, and a year or more of summary or formal probation.

Damaging Phone Lines as An Act of Vandalism

It is possible that a damaging phone lines allegation will simply be charged as an act of vandalism OR that a charge reduction to vandalism will be secured as part of a favorable plea deal in some cases. Under Nevada law, vandalism involves damaging or destroying public or private property without the owner's consent. So, this charge wouldn't make sense if you damaged your own phone line - but it could fit in a break-in situation or if a line of a relative was damaged, maybe while over at his/her house or apartment.

Vandalism occurs when destruction of someone else's property, such as telephone equipment, is done willfully (on purpose) and/or with malicious intent and without the property owner's permission.

Penalties for a vandalism conviction (often a misdemeanor) can include up to a $5,000 fine, up to 10 days of actual jail time, community service, and paying in full to replace the damaged property.

Burglary in Nevada

As damaging phone lines normally occurs along with other charges, we can give a brief overview of the charges it may be connected with, beginning with that of burglary.

Under Nevada law, "burglary" is entering a building with the intention to commit theft, assault, battery, fraud, or any felony crime once inside. Burglary can also be charged when a vehicle is entered for the same purposes. Note that it is not burglary to enter a building without such an intent if the theft or other crime only was decided upon AFTER inside; and on the other hand, it still is burglary to enter with such an intent even if you don't succeed at carrying through on your intent OR decide not to attempt it as planned once inside.

Burglary is a Class B Felony in Nevada, punishable by 1 to 10 years in state prison. If a deadly weapon was used, you can get 2 to 15 years. A fine as high as $10,000 may also apply.

Common defenses against burglary include: lack of intention to commit a crime before entering the building or vehicle, false accusation, false identification of the perpetrator, fabricated accusation, and police misconduct in obtaining evidence.

Domestic Violence in Nevada

The most common charge that illegally cutting a phone line is associated with is probably that of domestic violence. What is otherwise assault, battery, criminal threats, or a similar crime becomes classified as domestic violence when committed against a current or former spouse, cohabitant, dating partner, child, or other blood relative. 

Note that domestic violence can take many forms under Nevada law. It may be a physical assault/battery act, where physical harm is attempted or inflicted. It may involve a sexual assault, stalking, arson, trespassing, breaking and entering, harassment over the phone or Internet, or damaging of a phone line or other property to help one commit domestic violence or escape it being reported.

For a first time domestic violence offense in Nevada, you can be punished with from 2 days to 6 months in county jail, up to 120 hours of community service, and a fine of up to $1,000. A second, third, or subsequent domestic violence offense within 7 years of the first one in Nevada sees the sentencing elements rise, and if bodily harm was inflicted, a felony domestic violence crime (also with steeper penalties) may be charged.

Realize that domestic violence crimes are the most commonly falsely charged crimes in Nevada. Domestic disputes often involve lies and maneuvering and revenge seeking. And police often accept one side of the story uncritically and make an arrest just "to be safe" in case injury or death might ensue if they did nothing. Attorney Martin Hart understands these types of dynamics and knows how to defeat all manner of domestic violence allegations, along with damaging phone lines allegations.

Abduction & Kidnapping Charges

There are other attempts to isolate a person and control him or her aside from damaging a phone line. These may include destroying cell phones or Internet connections, shutting and locking doors and windows to make a house a prison, disallowing all communications with others on "the outside," slashing the ties of the victim's car and taking control of his/her car and/or house keys, and more.

These and other alleged actions, along with allegedly damaging phones and phone lines, may be a part of an abduction or kidnapping charge. Nevada Revised Statutes Section 200.310 defines, criminalizes, and assigns penalties to kidnapping. Kidnapping occurs when you forcibly or by threat move a victim from one location to another against his or her will. 

When, however, you don't move the victim but nonetheless take control of him or her to isolate and trap - that is abduction. Confining someone to a controlled space, abduction, often involves destroying phone lines for obvious reasons. Kidnapping and abduction are very, very serious charges that can be punished by long prison terms or even life in state prison. 

Why Choose Us?

When facing a charge of damaging a phone line illegally and for malicious purposes in Nevada, and/or facing other charges that may be coupled with that charge, you need the very best possible legal advice and representation to protect your record and your future.

At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we stand out from the crowd of law firms crowding in trying to gain your confidence and get permission to handle your case. We are not a "law mill" or a fly by night operation. We have a long track record in local Las Vegas, Clark County, and other Nevada communities of treating our clients with the greatest respect and giving them the highest standards of legal service.

And the bottom line is this: we win. Where other attorneys and firms refuse to take the case, farm it off to a less experienced lawyer, or handle it only halfheartedly and with minimal success - we work hard every day and meticulously build you a solid defense, and find a way to win where others fail or don't even try.

Martin Hart has an exceptionally thorough history of legal training and hands on experience, and he knows what weak points to look for in the prosecution's case. If police misconduct or violation of your rights occurred, it will not be overlooked and could get your case dismissed. If evidence is weak, he will not be bluffed by an overconfident prosecutor. And when it is appropriate and in your best interest to negotiate a plea bargain, Martin Hart's well seasoned negotiation skills come into play.

Damaging Phone Lines Attorney Near Me

At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, we have the deep knowledge of Nevada state law, as well as of local county and city statutes, that it takes to win your case. We have extensive experience in defending against charges of damaging a phone line and similar matters, plus the larger charge that these allegations are usually connected with.

Contact us 24/7/365 by calling our Las Vegas Criminal Attorney at 702-380-4278 for your free, no obligation consultation. We serve Las Vegas, Clark County, and all Nevada with top-tier criminal defense across the full gamut of practice areas. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you win your case!