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Eavesdropping Lawyers21 Jul 2016

It’s important to remember when you’re looking into the penal code that what you see is not necessarily something that’s designed to be read by the average person. In fact, if you really look at the letter of the law, it’s really been designed to be read, studied, and argued by lawyers who have years of experience. With all of that being said, it’s still very possible to understand what’s down on the books as long as you take the wordage there and break it down into easier to understand chunks where you’ll be focusing more on the meaning behind the words and less on the words themselves. We’re going to do just that in this post with the charge of eavesdropping, by looking at some definitions, punishments, as well as defenses that you have at your disposal.


What the charge of eavesdropping is ultimately set up to protect is the right to privacy. This is especially important in cases where someone is using some sort of recording device to record a private conversation. As you can imagine, in order to actually be considered a crime, you have to eavesdrop intentionally, not accidentally, and there also needs to be no consent of one of the parties involved. If one party consents to overhearing the conversation but the other doesn’t, it’s still eavesdropping. Another element is that the conversation needs to be confidential. If you can reasonably expect that one of the parties didn’t want anyone else to overhear the conversation, then it constitutes eavesdropping. Lastly, this charge needs to involve someone using a device to either amplify or record the conversation. Simply eavesdropping on the conversation and hearing what’s being said just by itself doesn’t constitute this crime, you also have to record it for the purpose of playing it back later, or amplifying and so relaying it to another location. Another way that this applies is if you intercept some kind of phone call and then participate in the same kind of eavesdropping. Either way, you’d be charged with this crime. Now as far as penalties go, it’s important to note that this crime is a wobbler. What that means is that it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the severity of the crime as well as what your previous arrest record looks like. Now if you’re charged with the misdemeanor version of this crime, you’ll be facing a fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars, a maximum of one year in county jail, or both. The felony version of this crime, however, is punished by up to sixteen months, two years, or three years in state prison, a fine of two thousand five hundred dollars, or both of these things. It’s important to note also that if you’re previously charged with this crime, then the maximum fine actually moves up to a total of ten thousand dollars. Now let’s take a look at some of the defenses you can do to handle this charge.


The main defense for this charge is to insist that you were eavesdropping on someone by way of eavesdropping by law enforcement for the purpose of solving a crime, which makes your conduct not only okay but actually encouraged.

As you can see, once you break down the law into simple chunks of information that gets away from complicated language, it becomes much easier to figure out what you’re going to do in terms of legal defense while working with counsel. So get in touch with us today and we can take the first step.

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