When you become the subject of a federal investigation, you may be concerned about being tapped. When an agent comes to your door, they already know a great deal about you. They can scan your bank statements, read emails, and talk to friends and neighbors. Their knowledge about all your transactions can make you feel quite pensive. You may have unreasonable fears that they are listening to your calls or that they may tap them in the future.
The Legal Process to Have A Wiretap Placed
The Federal law enforcement and the United States Department of Justice feel that tapping phones is a cumbersome task. Listening to hours of conversation is not necessary in most cases. Plus, there is a lengthy process that they must go through to get permission for the taps to be installed.
Now, keep in mind when it comes to the National Security Division or the NSA as it’s often called, all bets are off. They seem to be able to move things quicker and accomplish more than other divisions. An FBI agent cannot just install a wiretap whenever they want too. They must go through a lot of red tape, and they aren’t allowed to install them in every case. What crimes give them grounds to install a tap?
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Facing A Judge to Approve the Request
The Department of Justice must file a request to have a wiretap put on a phone. They must face a federal judge who reviews the request and sees if there is enough evidence for the tap. The prosecutor must tell the judge who they intended to tap and what details they hope to collect by using this method. The judge will also want to know what other methods they have tried in the case. Some normal investigative methods may be dangerous, and an alternative way to collect information is necessary.
The Limitations of a Wiretap
A wiretap order is only good for 30 days. Once this month has passed, then the prosecutor must once again go back to the judge. They must make a formal request to have it placed again. To be approved, the prosecutor must be armed with evidence. They need to show that the tap has been helpful in the case, and it needs to continue. The judge will also want to know what information was gained, and then they will decide if it will be permitted.
If the judge is not pleased with the information given at the hearing, then they can ask that the prosecutor give detailed reports of the evidence collected from the wiretaps. In addition to all this red tape that the FBI must go through, they must also get internal approval from officials at the Department of Justice too. It’s easy to see that this is quite a labor-intensive process. It requires hours of drafting paperwork, attending hearings, and their request still might be denied.
Legal Representation During A Federal Investigation
Now keep in mind, this process does happen daily. If the FBI feels there are enough grounds to place a wiretap, they will put the work into getting it done. However, unless your criminal investigation is centered around one of the approved crimes that allow such devices, it’s safe to say that your conversations are not being recorded.
If you are under a federal investigation, having a wiretap placed on your phone is probably only one of your many concerns. You can be under examination for many years and not know the status of your case. Federal agents aren’t always forthcoming with information. You may not even know what’s going on until you get an indictment from the federal grand jury.
These investigations can go on for years. It’s imperative to have an attorney that can make phone calls, draft paperwork, and be a source of support during this trying time. When the FBI is snooping in your personal affairs, it’s never a good situation. Whether you have a wiretap on your phone should not worry you if you have nothing to hide.