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Connecticut Eavesdropping Lawyer

If you were accused of eavesdropping or face criminal charges, it is a good idea to talk to an experienced Connecticut eavesdropping lawyer who understands the applicable state and federal laws.

What is Eavesdropping?

There are state and federal laws at play when it comes to eavesdropping, both civil and criminal penalties may apply. Connecticut General Statutes refer to eavesdropping, wiretapping, mechanical overhearing of a conversation, and tampering with private communication. A knowledgeable Connecticut eavesdropping lawyer could explain precisely how these terms fit in a particular situation.

In general, Connecticut law identifies eavesdropping as unlawfully engaging in behavior that constitutes either wiretapping or mechanical overhearing of a conversation. C.G.S. §53a-187 defines wiretapping as intentionally recording or listening to communication made by telephone or cellphone without the consent of the sender or receiver. Mechanical overhearing refers to the use of a device to record or listen in on a conversation without the consent of at least one party. Tampering with private communication under C.G.S. §53a-188 occurs when someone unlawfully obtains information about the content of a phone call through an employee of a phone company.

Is Connecticut a “One-Party” State?

Yes. The state of Connecticut allows someone to record or listen in on a phone conversation as long as one party to the conversation consents. Therefore, the sender or receiver of a phone call may record the conversation since presumably they consent to their own recording. If one party to the communication gives consent, then the conduct is not considered criminal eavesdropping under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) §53a-189a.

However, the civil laws apply a different standard. C.G.S. §52-570d allows an individual to bring a civil lawsuit against another person for damages if that person records a conversation without obtaining consent from all parties or giving adequate notice about the recording. Exceptions are allowed for recordings made by law enforcement officials or people who have been receiving threatening or repeated annoying phone calls. A Connecticut eavesdropping attorney could help recover evidence to show that proper consent or notice was provided, and no violation occurred.

When do Federal Eavesdropping Laws Apply?

If the FBI or U.S. Attorney’s office is involved in a case, they will enforce federal wiretapping laws. The federal criminal provisions are similar to Connecticut’s criminal eavesdropping laws, with one important difference.

18 U.S.C. §2511(2)(d) specifies that intercepting a communication does not violate the law if performed by a person who is part of the conversation or if a person who is part of the communication consents to the interception. If, however, the interception is made to further the commission of a criminal or civil wrong, then it does violate the law regardless of whether consent is given. An eavesdropping lawyer in Connecticut could review circumstances to determine whether an action appears to violate federal law.

What are the Penalties for Eavesdropping?

Eavesdropping is a Class D felony under both Connecticut and federal law. Those convicted face up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and all the other unwanted consequences that come along with a felony conviction. Therefore, it is important to take charges of wiretapping or eavesdropping seriously.

Consult a Connecticut Eavesdropping Attorney

A Connecticut eavesdropping lawyer could evaluate the situation and develop a defense strategy to take advantage of all available opportunities if you are accused of eavesdropping. If you are considering taking action that involves recording or listening in on a phone conversation, an attorney may be able to help you remain in compliance with state and federal laws. For a consultation to learn more, call Mark Sherman Law.