Polk County Woman Calls 911 When McDonald’s Got Her Order Wrong

May 26, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements

Calling 9-1-1 in your hour of need can be a nerve-wracking experience. In 2020, there were over 14 million calls to 911 in Florida. Misusing 911 is a serious offense in Florida and can have serious consequences. In a recent incident, a woman called 911 after the local McDonald’s got her order wrong.

The following blog will go over what happened at this McDonald’s and explain the consequences of misusing the 911 emergency line.

How a Wrong McDonald’s Order Led to a 911 Call

On Friday, May 20, 2022, Tianis Jones went to a Lakeland McDonald’s and placed an order through the drive-thru window. Something was wrong with the order and the employees asked Ms. Jones to pull forward to the third window. Ms. Jones instead parked her car and entered the McDonald’s. The Mc. Donald’s employees tried to fix Ms. Jones’ order and offered to refund her money. Ms. Jones became increasingly agitated and called 911 about the order at Mcdonald’s.

According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, “things went from bad to worse” at the Lakeland McDonalds after the 911 call was placed. Ms. Jones proceeded to go behind the counter and started throwing items, such as cups, at the McDonald’s employees. Sheriff Judd stated, “I don’t know what was wrong with her that night. I don’t know if she was two fries short of a Happy Mean, but she created a McMess and acted like a McNut . . . she ended up a McBurglar.”

Ms. Jones has been charged with misuse of 911, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and burglary with assault.

Misuse of 911

Florida Statute Section 365.172(14) outlines the misuse of 911. The law states that 911 services must be only used for emergency purposes. Misuse of 911 services can occur in a variety of circumstances. Misuse of 911 services can occur when a person uses the 911 services to make a false alarm or complaint or report false information that could result in emergency response of any public safety agency.

It is a first-degree misdemeanor to knowingly misuse or attempt to misuse 911 services for a purpose other than public safety assistance. A first-degree misdemeanor can be punishable by a jail sentence of up to 1 year, and a fine of up to $1,000. If the value of the services exceeds $100, then the misuse of 911 services is charged as a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, if the accused has been convicted of misuse of 911 services four times in the past, then any additional charges of misuse of 911 is a third-degree felony.

Other Famous Cases of Misuse of 911

In 2009, a Tampa man, Joshua Basso, called 911 to request sex services. He made obscene comments about the female operator and asked her to come to his house. He was charged with the misuse of 911, but the charges were eventually dropped months later.

On May 20, 2022, Jacob Philbeck made multiple calls to 911 stating that President Biden needs to be placed in prison. On Pinellas County Clerk’s website, Philbeck’s case is still open. The prosecutor hasn’t formally filed a complaint (or Information) against Philbeck. Philbeck is out on bond.

On March 10, 2022, Thomas Colucci, called 911 concerning some bad meth he received. He called asking that the police authenticate his meth. Colucci admitted to being an experienced drug user and claimed that he believed the drugs were actually bath salts. Colucci has been charged with possession of a controlled substance (meth) and possession of paraphernalia. Colucci could have also faced a misuse of 911 charge.

Leon County

While calling 911 to complain about a McDonald’s Order is an extreme example of a misuse of 911, there are other times when you might not be sure when it’s appropriate to call 911 or the non-emergency line. It’s important to use your best judgment when calling 911. If you come home to find your loved one unconscious then you should call 911, but if you come home to see your car keyed, then you should call the non-emergency line. The non-emergency number for Leon County is (850) 606-3300.

False Reports of a Crime

The misuse of 911 is different from giving a false report of a crime. Florida Statute Section 817.49 states that it is unlawful for a person to willfully and knowingly give false information or make a false police report concerning a crime that the person knows did not actually take place. A false report has to be made to a law enforcement officer, for it to be proven under this specific statute. A false report of a crime is a first-degree misdemeanor. Read more about false police reports on our blog here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

When you call 911, you do so to obtain immediate help. If you or a loved one was accused of misusing 911, then it’s important to obtain a skilled defense attorney. Quality legal help in a criminal case can ease your stress and help guarantee you the best possible outcome of your case. Don Pumphrey and his legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients all across Florida for various charges. They understand the importance of strategizing a strong defense and will stick by your side throughout the whole process. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today for a free consultation.

Written by Melissa MacNicol

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