Is the Federal Government Tapping Your Phone?
If you are involved in a federal investigation, the United States Department of Justice can gather a great deal of information about you. They can gather pertinent information, such as email correspondence and bank statements. You’re worried that they might be able to tap your phone. In most cases, federal investigators will use other sources to get information about you. However, they can tap your phone if they believe they have justification. In order to do so, they have to go through a process.
How Do Federal Investigators Tap Your Phone?
If federal investigators want to listen in on your phone conversations, they are looking for evidence to proof you have committed a crime. They can’t violate your privacy without permission from a judge. In the same way that police need a search warrant before entering a person’s home or business, FBI agents need a judge to grant access to your phone lines. Investigators can approach a judge at the federal level, the state level, or the local level in order to proceed with gathering more information that is pertinent to your case. Investigators need to provide sufficient evidence and arguments supporting the need to tap your phone. Once the judge grants permission for the tap, investigators need to contact the phone carrier. They can tap into landlines and cell phones. If they gain access to cell phones, they will also be able to review your text messages. When the investigation is over, investigators need to inform you that your phones were tapped. Anyone who was in contact with you on your phone will be notified as well.
Investigators Must Prove They Have Probable Cause
If investigators are going to go through the lengths necessary to tap your phones, they’ll need to prove they have probable cause. Wire tapping is only requested for crimes that are serious in nature, such as suspected acts of terrorism, drug trafficking, embezzlement, or money laundering.
How Long Can Your Phones be Tapped?
Investigators will be granted permission to tap your phone for a thirty-day period. At the end of thirty days, they may request an extension if necessary. When requesting an extension, investigators will need to provide justification for continuing to listen in on your conversations. They will need to share some of the evidence that has already been documented during the initial period of the wire tap. If the judge approves, another thirty days can be granted.
Can Law Officials Ever Listen in on Your Phone Conversations without Permission?
There is one place where you will not have any guarantee of privacy with your phone calls. If you are convicted of a crime and sent to prison, law officials have access to all of your phone calls. Bear that in mind if you have to discuss your case with your criminal attorney. You should meet in person to ensure your conversations are discreet. You are allowed a meeting in a private room with your attorney. Otherwise, guard your words whenever you make a phone call. You can guarantee someone will be listening in.
What Should You Do if You Suspect You are Under Investigation?
If you have reason to believe you are under investigation or you have been notified that federal officials are building a case against you, you should hire a criminal lawyer. Begin by choosing a lawyer who is experienced and has a reputation for excellence. If you have any documentation from investigators, such as an initial search warrant, bring it with you when you meet with your attorney. If you have any witnesses that can offer you support, be sure to share their names with your lawyer. Your attorney will be able to provide you with guidance as to how you should proceed. If you are charged with a crime after the investigation is over, your attorney will work with you to build your defense.