Unlawfully Refusing To Yield A Party Line: NY Penal Law § 270.15

by ECL Writer
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A party line is a style of phone service where multiple subscribers share a single line. Each subscriber would have a distinct phone number, and they would be able to identify an incoming call by the individual ring it makes. Party lines still exist today, despite how infrequently they occur. Party lines demand a certain level of decency. However, since not everyone is as considerate and understanding as they ought to be, New York has legislation that mandates that you give up a party line if you need it to make an emergency call.

In other words, you must end your conversation if you need to use the phone to call 911 because a residence is operating normally. This is required by law. If you don’t hang up the phone after being informed that a party line is required to make an emergency call, you could be charged with unlawfully refusing to yield a party line under New York Penal Code 270.15. A call to the police, fire department, ambulance service, or for medical assistance that is required in order to save a life or to save property is referred to as an emergency call.

Unlawfully Refusing To Yield A Party Line Sentence

If you are found guilty of illegally refusing to toe the party line, which is a class B misdemeanor, you might spend up to three months in jail and face a fine of up to $500. Additionally, the court can decide to sentence you to a year of probation rather than jail time.


If the emergency did not meet the statutory definition of a true emergency, you would not be in violation of the law for refusing to yield a party line. For instance, if someone is ailing but not critically ill, refusing to give up a party line so that someone else might use it to schedule an appointment with a doctor would not constitute unlawfully refusing to yield.

New York Penal Code § 270.15: Unlawfully Refusing To Yield A Party Line

  • As used in this section: (a) “Party line” means a subscriber’s line telephone circuit, consisting of two or more main telephone stations connected therewith, each station with a distinctive ring or telephone number. (b) “Emergency call” means a telephone call to a police or fire department, or for medical aid or ambulance service, necessitated by a situation in which human life or property is in jeopardy and prompt summoning of aid is essential.
  • A person is guilty of unlawfully refusing to yield a party line when being informed that a party line is needed for an emergency call, he refuses immediately to relinquish such line.

Related Offense

Hiring A New York Lawyer For Unlawfully Refusing To Yield A Party Line

Securing a New York lawyer when facing allegations of unlawfully refusing to yield a party line is essential. New York takes such offenses seriously, potentially leading to legal consequences. An experienced attorney will analyze the specifics of your case, assess evidence, and devise a robust defense strategy. They will protect your rights and work to mitigate penalties, which might include fines or other repercussions. With a skilled attorney by your side, you can navigate the complexities of New York law, increase your chances of a favorable outcome, and ensure your side of the story is heard effectively in court. Don’t face these charges without professional legal representation.

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