Federal Lawyers Explain Crime of Intercepting Communications

There is a strong right to privacy that is protected in the United States, and a part of this right is the right not to have your communications intercepted.

It is imperative to understand the laws associated with the interception of wire and electronic communications, as well as the laws associated with the interception of oral communications.

Knowing these rules can help you to avoid violations of the law and can help you to understand the circumstances under which your communications potentially could be intercepted.

When you are accused of breaking the laws prohibiting wire and communications interception or interception of oral communications, it is important you are represented by a federal criminal de-fense lawyer who knows the federal rules and who can provide comprehensive help and support in navigating the criminal justice system in the most effective way possible. These laws can be technical and you want to ensure your lawyer is familiar with the specifics and ready to fight for your rights.

If your communications are intercepted, it is also important to know the rules for when this is permissible so you can ensure your constitutional rights were not violated. If improper procedures were followed for interception of your communications, any evidence obtained typically will not be able to be used again you.

LV Criminal Defense can help with all legal issues related to intercepting communications. Our dedicated and experienced legal team will work hard to ensure that you understand the laws re-lated to the unlawful interception of wire and electronic communications and that those laws are applied properly when you are facing criminal charges.

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Federal Laws on Intercepting Wire and Electronic Communication

Laws related to intercepting wire and electronic communications and laws related to the intercep-tion of oral communications are found in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 119.

There are 13 statutes found within the relevant chapter of the federal penal code that define pro-tected communications, establish offenses, and determine the limited circumstances under which wire and oral communications can be intercepted. The relevant laws include:

  • 18 U.S. Code section 2510 – Definitions
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2511 – Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2512 – Manufacture, distribution, possession, and advertising of wire, oral, or electronic communication intercepting devices prohibited
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2513 – Confiscation of wire, oral, or electronic communication intercepting devices
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2514 – Repealed. Pub. L. 91–452, title II, 18 U.S. Code sectionCode section 227(a), Oct. 15, 1970, 84 Stat. 930]
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2515 – Prohibition of use as evidence of intercepted wire or oral communications
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2516 – Authorization for interception of wire, oral, or electron-ic communications
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2517 – Authorization for disclosure and use of intercepted wire, oral, or electronic communications
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2518 – Procedure for interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2519 – Reports concerning intercepted wire, oral, or electronic communications
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2520 – Recovery of civil damages authorized
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2521 – Injunction against illegal interception
  • 18 U.S. Code section 2522 – Enforcement of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act

The definitions statute found in 18 U.S. Code section 2501 defines the terms wire communica-tion; oral communication; state; intercept; electronic, mechanical or other device; person; inves-tigative or law enforcement officer; contents; judge of competent jurisdiction; communication common carrier; aggrieved person; electronic communication; and more. Each of the words de-fined within this statute apply throughout the entirety of 18 U.S. Code Chapter 119.

18 U.S. Code section 2511 prohibits any person from intentionally intercepting, trying to inter-cept, or procuring others to intercept wire, oral, or electronic communications. The statute also prohibits the use of electronic or other devices to intercept oral communication under specific circumstances and criminalizes the intentional disclosure of oral, wire, or electronic communica-tions with knowledge that the communications were obtained though unlawful means.

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However, while intercepting communications is generally illegal, there are exceptions set forth within 18 U.S. Code Chapter 119. It is not unlawful for FCC officials to carry out monitoring responsibilities, for example, nor is it illegal for telephone operators to intercept communications while carrying out their job responsibilities or for investigators to intercept communications when given permission to do so by a judge of competent jurisdiction.

Because there are many different statutes in Chapter 119 that establish important rules and regu-lations related to interception of communications, defendants who are accused of wrongdoing or whose communications have been intercepted will need to get the proper legal help to understand how the relevant laws apply to their specific situation.

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Getting Help From a Federal Defense Attorney

Defendants from California, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Arizona or surrounding areas who are in-volved in a federal criminal case where the interception of communications becomes an issue should make sure they are represented by federal defense lawyers who know the rules and who can fight aggressively on their behalf. This is true whether you are accused of illegally intercepting the communications of others or whether your own communications have been intercepted and you want to fight for your privacy rights.

LV Criminal Defense is very familiar with all of the statutes in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 119 and we can fight on your behalf to protect your future. This could mean arguing your communications were improperly intercepted and thus evidence obtained from them should be suppressed and not admitted in the case against you, or it could mean helping you to craft a defense strategy in re-sponse to accusations you violated privacy laws by intercepting communications.

To find out more about the personalized help LV Criminal Defense can offer you in connection with federal legal issues arising under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 119, give us a call today.