December 29, 2023 By Wallin & Klarich

Is Prank Calling Illegal? 

Prank calling can seem like harmless fun, but depending on what’s said, it may turn into a criminal offense. If you or someone you know has been charged with prank calling in California, it’s important to understand the implications and punishments that could come with this crime. 

Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL  for your free appeal consultation!

Penal Code 653m 

California Penal Code 653m makes it illegal to prank call if the call harrasses someone, uses obscene language, or if there are repeated calls. To obtain a conviction under PC 653m(a), the prosecution needs to establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Engaged in a phone call or electronic communication with another individual.
  1. The intention or objective behind this communication was to cause annoyance to the recipient.

Additionally, either of the following must apply:

  • Obscene language was used during the communication.
  • A threat was made to the person, their property, or their family.

Under this statute, “obscene language” refers to language that a reasonable person would deem offensive. While the law does not explicitly specify the definition of “annoying,” the court must take into account the caller’s intent or objective when placing the call.

Additionally, the law is not limited to phone calls. Instead, it applies to any means of electronic communication. This includes texting, emailing, as well as social media such as Facebook. 

If you or a loved one has been charged under this law, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over four decades of experience representing cases like yours. Call our office today for a free consultation!


A violation of Penal Code 653m PC is a misdemeanor and can carry the following penalties:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • Up to $1,000 fine

In addition to jail time and fines, you could face difficulty finding employment after a conviction. Employers may be less likely to hire you after learning of your conviction under this law. It is important to have a skilled defense attorney on your side to help you through the process and get the best outcome for your case. Call us today!

Possible Defenses

A few of the possible defenses to raise against this charge include:

  • Your intention was not to cause annoyance to the other person.
  • You placed the call with good intentions, indicating that it was an unintentional error.
  • The calls were made as part of regular business operations.
  • The communication did not contain any obscene content.

However, it is important to have a defense attorney on your side who can look at the specific facts of your case and find the best defenses to raise for you. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have the experience you need for your case. Plus, we offer exceptional service, experience, and affordable payment options to help you manage the cost of hiring a defense attorney.

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been accused of prank calling, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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