While most people think of wiretapping as something that the police or other government agencies use to investigate a suspect, private individuals occasionally tap into the phone lines of others for a variety of reasons. Whether the wiretapping was performed for the purpose of gaining confidential information from a rival company, for stalking someone or for gaining an advantage in an upcoming legal dispute, anyone accused of wiretapping will need to contact skilled Vista criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible.
Wiretapping has traditionally required hooking a device into a phone line, modern wiretapping also involves hijacking wireless cellphone signals in order to listen in on conversations or to read text messages. Under California law, only law enforcement officials may tap someone’s phone without their permission -and even then, they must have a court order in order to do so. In fact, it is even illegal to tap your own phone if you do not inform those on the other line that they are being recorded. Even recording a private phone call without consent is illegal unless you are collecting evidence of a serious or violent crime.
Depending on the specifics of a particular wiretapping charge and the defendant’s criminal record, the prosecution might try the crime as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If you are charged with misdemeanor wiretapping, you can face a fine of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail. On the other hand, if you are found guilty of felony wiretapping, you could be sentenced to as long as three years in a state prison. If you have a similar crime on your record, you may even face a minimum fine of $10,000. In many cases, a top Vista criminal defense attorney may be able to convince the prosecutor to charge the crime as a misdemeanor.
If you have been accused of wiretapping, or a similar crime such as eavesdropping or stalking, please contact a Vista invasion of privacy defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with attorney Peter M. Liss to discuss how he can help you fight these charges.
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