We’ve already covered the fact that it’s illegal to wiretap someone’s phone without their knowledge, but listening in to other people’s conversations can be illegal even if no phone is involved. If you are accused of violating the state’s eavesdropping laws, attorney Peter M. Liss can help.
Overhearing a Neighbor Isn’t Against the Law
It’s important to recognize that California hasn’t made it illegal to overhear someone’s private conversations, that would be totally impractical. It is illegal to use an electronic device to record or amplify a conversation though. So, for example, if you live in an apartment complex that has very thin walls, it is not against the law to listen to a conversation between the people in the next apartment over. If you place a cup against the wall so you can better hear them, you’re still not breaking the law since you didn’t use an electronic device to overhear them. If you use a microphone to hear them better or to record their conversation though, then you have violated the law. If you have any questions about whether a scenario technically falls under the definition of eavesdropping under the law, a lawyer can clear things up for you.
Penalties for Eavesdropping
Those charged with eavesdropping may face felony or misdemeanor charges depending on the specific circumstances of the incident. If a phone is involved, they may also face wiretapping charges as well. As a misdemeanor, the crime can carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines. As a felony, it could have a sentence of up to three years in prison. It’s easy to see just how serious this crime is based on the possible penalties and why you should not fight these charges without the help of a lawyer.
If you have been accused of eavesdropping, do not speak to the police without your attorney present. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
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