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Is the Federal Government Tapping Your Phone?

November 4, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys
New Jersey Is the Federal Government Tapping Your Phone? 
Have you ever felt as though someone might be listening to your conversations while you’re on the telephone with someone? Although this doesn’t happen all the time, it’s possible that someone from the Federal Government is tapping your phone and listening to everything that you say. If you know that you’ve been charged with a crime or think that you could be investigated in the future, then you might want to limit your phone calls in the event that someone is listening. If you think that a government official is tapping your phone, you can contact an attorney who can offer advice about how to tell if someone is listening and how to approach the court to put a stop to your invasion of privacy.

A detail that you should know about tapping your phone is that there are guidelines that officials must follow. Tapping your phone is legal if you’re aware that it’s occurring. If government officials have evidence against you pertaining to a crime, then they could tap your phone without your knowledge but would then have to deliver the evidence to the court when you go to trial. Your attorney can raise the defense of an invasion of privacy tapping in an illegal setting if no conversations were recorded that yielded the evidence that the officials needed. An attorney can also offer assistance if you feel that a family member’s phone is being tapped as well.

There are types of communication that are exempt from regulations associated with wiretapping. Officers can monitor jail and prison phones, recording conversations between inmates and the people they talk to in order to ensure that there is no illegal activity taking place. If a party consents to a wiretap, then it’s usually considered a legal act. Conversations that involve police officers and other government officials are usually exempt from regulations as well, especially if they are talking to victims, witnesses, or possible suspects in order to get more information pertaining to a crime.

In order for a wiretap to be legal, there is a process that needs to be followed. The officer or government official who wants to complete the wiretap needs to complete an application. The Attorney General or a prosecutor for the county court will review the application to determine if the reason for the wiretap is valid. If the application is approved, then the official will be directed to seek final approval by a judge before completing the wiretap process. A judge will review the application and determine if there is probable cause for the wiretap to be completed. This is when the officer has a chance to deliver as much information as possible about any crimes that have been committed or if there is a possibility that a crime could be committed in the future. If the judge approves, then the wiretap can take place.

Officers can easily watch your actions when you’re in public and even when you’re on your own property. When officers step over the line and begin tapping your phone without permission from a court, then the officer could be reprimanded for the actions completed. Your attorney might want to meet with you in person to prevent conversations on phones from being tapped. There are usually limits on how long officers can tap your phone and the time of day when officers can tap your phone. Another limitation of wiretapping is that officers are usually only allowed to complete the act if they believe that they will hear evidence pertaining to a crime or a legal situation. They can’t simply record a conversation that you have with your child on the phone or another family member that is considered a private matter.

Aside from listening to your conversations, officers can perform a pen register technique. This involves recording the numbers that you dial on your phone in order to get information about the people you contact. Officers can also complete a trace that involves recording numbers that call a certain phone. These methods are usually allowed in court more often than wiretapping because a conversation isn’t recorded between two people. If there is evidence that a number has been used by someone connected to a criminal act, then the officers can obtain a warrant to get more information.

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