Wiretapping Penal Code 631
Wiretapping. Wiretapping is commonly seen in movies and TV used by the cops to capture a suspect. However wiretapping does happen outside movies also, it can be used by everyday people. Although law enforcement does it, its only used to in criminal investigation. Even then the police needs a court order to even attempt a wiretapping. Using a third party machine, eavesdropping, or helping to intentionally tap into a phone line. And then use that information, are all illegal activities which falls under illegal wiretapping. Without the permission of both parties a wiretapping is considered an illegal activity. If you were to use the information gained from wiretapping in a future court case then you need to have consent from the other party. It does not matter what information you gathered through the illegal activity, all evidence gained through wiretapping is thrown out and disregarded. For example if the information gained in the wiretapping was crucial for use in a divorce case, then unless the spouse agreed to be wiretapped, its thrown out. Wiretapping can be used legally by law enforcement in some cases. Example would be in prison, most phone calls are recorded except those which involve you, your lawyer, religious advisor, or a physician.
Punishment for Wiretapping
Wiretapping can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Depending on the facts of the case and your criminal history. As a misdemeanor you can see up to a year in jail and/or a $2500 fine. As a felony then instead of jail you can see up to three years in prison. If you were previously caught with wiretapping or any related offenses, then the fine can go up to $10,000. The victim that was wiretapped can also sue you in a civil lawsuit. The amount can be three times the amount of damage suffered, or $5000 whatever is bigger.
If you felt you were illegally wiretapped, or that you had a legal right to wiretap, speak with an attorney. Technicalities swamp the issue and without proper advice it can be a disaster.