Illegal Cellphone Jamming
An Illinois man was recently arrested for using an illegal cellphone jamming device while on the ‘L.’ This was not the first time that the man had been charged with jamming cell phones, as he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for the same offense in 2009. The arrest marks the first time a person has been cited for using this type of device on a transit system. Previously, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had only issued citations for those who were attempting to sell the jamming devices online.
Unlawful Interference With a Public Utility
The ‘L’ rider was charged with unlawfully interfering with a public utility, which is considered a felony offense. In order to commit this crime, a person must knowingly, and without the consent of the service’s owners:
- Impair or interrupt any public water, gas or power supply, telecommunications service, wireless service, or other public service;
- Divert any public water, gas, or power supply, telecommunications service, wireless service, or other public service;
- Install or remove any device for the purpose of a diversion; or
- Delay restoration of public services.
A public service is any service that is:
- Subject to regulation by the Illinois Commerce Commission;
- Furnished by a public utility that is owned and operated or leased by a political subdivision, public institution of higher education, or municipal corporation of the state of Illinois; or
- Furnished by an electric cooperative, wireless service, or service regulated by the FCC.
The crime of unlawful interference with a public utility service is a serious offense in Illinois. A person who commits this crime will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in prison, two years of probation, and the mandatory payment of a $2,500 fine. However, if the offense was committed for payment, it will be treated as a Class 4 felony which carries a penalty of up to three years’ imprisonment. Anything after a first conviction for this offense will also be considered a Class 4 felony.
In the event that the disruption of the public utility service affects 10 or more people or an area of more than one square mile, the offense will be charged as a class 2 felony. A class 2 felony is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Unlawful interference with a public utility service is a serious offense in Illinois. If you are being investigated for or have been charged with this crime, an experienced attorney can help explain your legal options and may even be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Please contact the Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC to schedule a free consultation.