NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 6th August 2023, 02:19 am
Federal Wiretaps: How They Work and What Crimes Allow Them
If you’re being investigated for a particular crime, the federal government may seek to wiretap your phone. However, before agents can tap into your conversations, they must first follow a stringent legal process and receive approval from a judge. In this article, we’ll discuss how federal wiretaps work and what types of crimes allow wiretapping. We’ll also explain why it’s necessary to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you believe you’re under investigation.
The Legal Process of Federal Wiretapping
To get approval for a wiretap, federal agents must follow specific guidelines outlined in Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act. Before seeking a wiretap order, agents should exhaust all other investigative methods available to them. It’s important to note that wiretaps are not permitted for all crimes; there are specific offenses that allow the use of wiretaps.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 2516, federal law enforcement agencies may seek approval for wiretapping when investigating qualifying crimes such as murder, drug trafficking, trade secrets violations, piracy, espionage or kidnapping. When planning to apply for a court order allowing them to tap into communications equipment (wiretap), authorized DOJ lawyers start collating evidence and begin internal communication on obtaining permission from concerned authorities.
When seeking authorization from judges in federal court, Department of Justice prosecutors draft requests detailing who will be subject to wiretap orders and provide specifics based on information obtained through investigations done by the FBI or other departments’ experts who create probable cause statement required by the court’s regulation.
The request made by the prosecutor must contain details about why other investigative techniques would be too dangerous or unproductive in getting information about the crime being investigated before requesting permission for surveillance activities such as interception devices. This is helpful because judges only case-order these procedures in extreme cases – never trivial or minor offenses.
Once the court concludes that fit circumstances necessitate wiretapping, they release an order specifying the conditions for tapping, which is only effective for up to 30 days. Should law enforcement agencies need to renew surveillance activities, they must seek permission and appear before the same judge in charge of determining probable cause statements.
What Crimes Are Qualified for Federal Wiretapping?
Federal agents can’t wiretap phones randomly or just listen in on people’s conversations as part of a fishing expedition. Instead, specific crimes under 18 U.S.C § 2516 qualify for wiretaps. Besides kidnapping, drug trafficking and murder highlighted earlier; firearm-and-explosives-related weapons offenses such as threatening to use nuclear weapons pose dangers that warrant this invasive investigative technique.
Similarly, international espionage, terrorism acts and aircraft parts fraud affecting national security are other qualifying “severely indictable offenses” logged in Title III wiretapping laws.
These qualifying crimes not only emphasize the seriousness required but explains the extensive legal process involved when seeking approval from internal departmental experts and federal judges at different levels of authority based on minimum jurisdictional requirements.
Why You Need an Experienced Defense Attorney
If you’re being investigated by federal agents for any offense that qualifies for wiretapping authorization orders, it’s crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The attorney will explain your rights during investigations and provide unique insight into strategies that can be used to minimize charges brought before judges.
An attorney can help determine whether you should negotiate with DOJ lawyers concerning charges still pending or proactively involve prosecutors before charges are filed against you. Given their vast experience defending people accused of serious federal crimes across various court jurisdictions nationwide; accredited lawyers help craft your legal defenses while closely following current trends in case processing times to ensure your interests are prioritized in all strategic decisions.
Call Our Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Now
If you think federal agents are investigating you or if you are sure they are, our team of criminal defense lawyers can assist you as early as possible. Getting legal help at this critical stage can improve the outcome of the case significantly.
Legal procedures regulating wiretapping activities are complex and complicated on purpose to discourage federal agents from using the technique at will. Notwithstanding, if you’re being investigated for a qualifying offense, our experienced attorneys have hands-on knowledge in drafting formal responses to DOJ investigators on surveillance permission or court-guided submissions seeking a modification of or opposition to wiretap orders. Reach out to us today, and we’ll offer a free consultation with one of our highly-experienced defense attorneys!