Motions to suppress wiretap information fall under the New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance pursuant to NJSA 2A: 156A. The statute requires the police to follow certain protocols and procedures when intercepting and recording communications. In State v Worthy, the New Jersey Supreme Court clarified that suppression is the appropriate remedy for unlawfully obtained wiretaps. The court held that "a plain and strict reading of the amended statute supports the proposition that all evidence derived from illegal interception-the conversations recorded by that interception, conversations recorded after the unlawful interception and other evidence "derived" from the illegal interception-shall be excluded." State v Worthy, N.J. 368, 367 (1995). NJSA 2A: 156A-9 (c) (6) requires proof that other normal investigative procedures with respect to the offense have been tried and have failed or reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if tried or be too dangerous to employ before wiretaps are utilized. In other words, the State must offer proof that less intrusive, normal investigative techniques were attempted and failed before wiretaps are authorized and employed.
According to the federally mandated Wiretap Act, it is illegal for a party to use a device to intentionally intercept or use the contents of an individual's communications with another. The goal of the Wiretap Act is to protect an individual's privacy in their wire, oral, or electronic communications with others. Not only are federal laws in existence regarding wiretaps, but New Jersey has also established laws that are similar to those contained in the federal Wiretap Act. These laws apply to more than just wiretapping a telephone, and any violation of these laws can result in civil and criminal penalties. Individuals that have questions or concerns regarding state or federal wiretap laws should contact a New Jersey wiretap lawyer. An experienced lawyer can help those that believe they have been the victims of an illegal wiretap or those that have been accused of illegal wiretap activities.
Types of Illegal Wiretaps
There are several ways in which information can be obtained through a wiretap. Many of these methods are a violation of both state and federal law. Recording a conversation, wiretapping a phone, intercepting cell phone communications, and intercepting emails from a spouse's work computer may be violations of state and federal wiretap laws. A New Jersey wiretap attorney can be of invaluable assistance when trying to establish illegal wiretapping.
Recording a Conversation
According to New Jersey state law, it is illegal for an individual to record or tape a conversation unless he or she is a party to the conversation. In other words, an individual is prohibited by law from recording the conversations of other parties. This is viewed by the courts as a gross invasion of privacy, and the courts may award both compensatory and punitive damages to the victim.
Wiretapping a Phone
The unauthorized recording of a telephone conversation is illegal in New Jersey. Any evidence obtain through an illegally taped conversation will be inadmissible in court. Individuals that are found guilty of illegally wiretapping a phone can face both civil and criminal sanctions.
Intercepting Cell Phone Communications
While federal law exempts cordless phones or cell phones from wiretap laws, the New Jersey statutes includes both cordless phones and cell phones. In the State of New Jersey, it is a violation of the law to intercept cell phone communications. New Jersey considers a cell phone a type of wire communication, and accessing any electronic storage of this type of communication is prohibited.
Intercepting Emails from a Spouse's Work Computer
In divorce cases, spouses may be tempted to obtain evidence of an affair by accessing their spouse's personal computer. While the law allows spouses to access the others emails on computers in the marital home, a spouse's work computer is off limits. Accessing or intercepting emails on a spouse's work computer is a violation of both federal and state wiretap laws.
Hiring a NJ Wiretap Lawyer
Individuals that need legal advice and guidance in regard to wiretaps should consult with a NJ wiretap attorney. A New Jersey wiretap attorney will be delighted to answers any questions regarding legal and illegal wiretapping activities. It would be their pleasure to represent illegal wiretap victims in a court of law as well.