Nevada law protects the privacy of conversations on communications devices. As such, the law prohibits the unauthorized interception of communications and prohibits unauthorized, surreptitious intrusions of privacy through the use of listening devices.
The consequences of intercepting private communications can be serious and it is important that you understand exactly what types of behavior are prohibited by law. If you have been accused of violating the rules and intercepting communications unlawfully, it is also important that you understand how the law works, what prosecutors must prove in order to secure a conviction against you, and what options are available for responding to charges.
LV Criminal Defense can help you. Our legal team will work closely with you to determine the best way to respond to allegations of intercepting and/or disclosing wire and radio communications or private communications. To find out how we can provide assistance with these charges, give us a call today.
The interception and disclosure of wire and radio communications or private conversations is considered to be a crime against persons. These types of crimes are defined in a separate subcategory of Chapter 200, which is the chapter of Nevada’s penal code in Title 15 that defines offenses against persons.
The first of these statutes,N.R.S. 200.610, sets forth the definitions that are applicable with this subcategory of crimes. According to the relevant law, wire communication encompasses the transmission of writing, signals, pictures, and sounds of all kinds. It includes transmissions made by wire, over cable, or other similar connection points between where the transmission originates and where the transition is received. It also includes all facilities and services that are incidental to the transmission of communication, including the receipt, forwarding, and delivering of communications.
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Radio communications also means the transmission of all signals, writings, pictures, and sounds of all kinds. This definition covers transmissions of communications that occur by radio or by any wireless methods, including facilities and services incidental to the transmission of communications. However, it does not include the transmission of writing, signals, sounds, or pictures that are broadcast by public agencies of Nevada, municipal agencies of the state of Nevada, amateur broadcasters, or any others who transmit communications for the use of the general public.
N.R.S. 200.620 provides information on the specific crime of interception and attempted interception of wire communications, explaining the circumstances under which interception is prohibited.
According to the relevant law, it is unlawful to either attempt to intercept, or to actually intercept, any wire communication without the prior consent of one of the parties to the communication. Even when one of the parties consents, for the interception to be lawful, an emergency situation must exist that makes it impractical to get a required court order before the interception of the communication.
If the interception is recorded without a court order based on the consent of one party, it is subject to the requirements found in N.R.S. 200.620(3), which specifies that the person who made the interception in the emergency situation must make a request to a justice of the Supreme Court or to a district justice for ratification of the interception. The judge must ratify the interception only if the judge determines an emergency existed and it wasn’t practical to obtain a court order before inception and that other requirements necessary for the interception of communication to be legal were fulfilled.
If the application for ratification of the intercepted communication is denied, it is unlawful to make use of the recorded information and the person who made the interception must provide notice to the sender and receiver of the communication about the interception and the denial of the ratification by the court.
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The statute sets forth some exceptions, however, regarding when it is permissible to intercept communications. For example, the law does not prohibit the recording of wired communications in the office of a law enforcement or fire fighting agency or a public utility which accepts emergency calls.
N.R.S. 200.630 provides details on the disclosure of the existence, content, or substance of wire or radio communications. According to the relevant law, the existence of these communications should not be disclosed without authorization from the sender or from the receiver of the content. However, there are exceptions for any person, officer, employee, or agent engaged in providing services for wire or radio communication if the disclosure is made for construction, maintenance, or operation of services or facilities required for the communications to occur. This also does not apply if disclosure are made to intended receivers or attorneys of intended receivers; or in response to a subpoena or another written request from a lawful authority.
Penalties for violations of the rules regarding the unauthorized interception or disclosure of wire communications or radio communications can vary depending upon the situation. A willful and knowing violation could result in a conviction for a Category D felony offense. In addition to criminal proceedings, a convicted individual could be responsible for providing compensation to individuals whose communications are intercepted, including actual or liquidated damages, punitive damages, and costs incurred in a civil action.
The laws on the interception of wire and oral communications can be complicated, but understanding and complying with these laws is important to avoid serious penalties. If you are accused of wrongdoing in connection with intercepting or disclosing information that you should not have in connection with communications devices, you should reach out to LV Criminal Defense. Our Las Vegas defense lawyers will help you to understand your options for fighting accusations so you can navigate the criminal justice system in a strategic way that minimize penalties you could face. Give us a call today to find out more about how we can help you.