Mass. General Laws c.269 § 14B

Willful and malicious communication of false information to public safety answering points; penalty; restitution

Table of Contents


Section 14B

As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:--

“Emergency response services provider”, a police department, fire department, emergency medical service provider, PSAP, public safety department, private safety department or other public safety agency.

“PSAP”, a facility assigned the responsibility of receiving 911 calls and, as appropriate, directly dispatching emergency response services or transferring or relaying emergency 911 calls to other public or private safety agencies or other PSAPs.

“Silent call”, a call or other communication made to a PSAP in which the initiating party fails to provide information regarding his or her identity or location or the nature of the emergency. The initiating party shall not be considered to have provided any information that is automatically transmitted by a communication device or network upon connection with a PSAP including, but not be limited to, automatic location information and automatic number information.


Whoever willfully and maliciously communicates with a PSAP, or causes a communication to be made to a PSAP, which communication transmits information which the person knows or has reason to know is false and which results in the dispatch of emergency services to a nonexistent emergency or to the wrong location of an actual emergency; or (b) whoever willfully and maliciously, makes or causes to be made 3 or more silent calls to any PSAP and thereby causes emergency services to be dispatched 3 or more times shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years or by a fine of not more than $1,000. Whoever commits a second or subsequent violation of this section shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years or by a fine of not more than 5,000 dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.


Upon any conviction under this section, the court shall conduct a hearing to ascertain the extent of costs incurred, and damages and financial loss sustained by any emergency response services provider as a result of the violation and shall order the defendant to make restitution to the emergency response services provider or providers for any such costs, damages or loss. The court shall consider the defendant's present and future ability to pay restitution in its determinations relative to the imposition of a fine. In determining the amount, time and method of payment of restitution, the court shall consider the defendant’s employment status, earning ability, financial resources, living expenses, dependents and any special circumstances that may have bearing on their ability to pay. The court may waive restitution or modify the amount, time or method of payment if such restitution payment would cause a substantial financial hardship to the defendant or the defendant’s immediate family or the defendant’s dependents.

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Last updated: May 29, 2019

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