Arrested and Charged Following a Wiretap?
The most prevalent form of electronic surveillance used by the police to monitor communications over a land line or cellular telephone is a wiretap. There are, however, strict guidelines that regulate when or how wiretapping can be conducted. The lawyers at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall possess over 100 years of collective experience contesting all forms of wiretaps to provide with assurance that your rights are fully protected. Our attorneys would be more than happy to discuss the specific facts associated with the surveillance to which you or your loved one was subjected. The information that follows is provided for your assistance but do not hesitate to contact us anytime to speak to an attorney about more detailed issues. A lawyer can be reached immediately at 1-877-450-8301.
The New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act (“Act”), N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-1 et seq., is the law that regulates how and when an electronic interception or recording of communications may be conducted by the government, including state and local law enforcement. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-3(a) of the Act, a regulated “interception” means the acquisition of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device. Certain communications are, however, exempted from these laws including routine recording of conversations on police department phone lines and recording of telephone conversations of prison and jail inmates. Other exceptions to the law are Recordings with Consent by a Party, Intercepts by the Telephone Company, communications where the police are a party to the conversation, or where Recording is by a Private Person.
Procedure for Obtaining a Valid Wiretap
The process that must be followed to obtain a legal wiretap generally includes the following:
- Preparation of an application by a police officer involved in an investigation of one of the criminal activities outlined under N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-8 including Distribution of Drugs & CDS;
- Review of the application by the Attorney General or by the County Prosecutor with an ensuing authorization for the officer to seek approval by a judge to intercept the communication;
- A determination by a judge that there is probable cause to believe that the person whose communication is being intercepted is engaged in one of the activities specified under N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-8 and that the facilities or place from which the communications were intercepted is being used for the related criminal activities; and
- Entry of an Order authorizing the electronic surveillance of the particular telephone or cell phone.
Consequences of Failure to Comply With the Act
N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-21 of the law provides that anyone who is injured or negatively effected by an electronic intercept may file a Motion to Suppress the contents of the intercepted wire or communication. There are a variety of grounds upon which failure to adhere to the laws requirements will result in the recording being deemed illegal, including:
- The communication was not obtained in conformity with the Requirements of the Act;
- The order authorizing the intercept was defective or insufficient on its face; or
- The interception was not obtained in conformity with the Order of Authorization.
If any one or more of the aforesaid grounds exist, the recording was unlawful and cannot be used as evidence against an accused.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you were arrested following surveillance of your telephone, cell phone, or text messages. Lawyers are available immediately at 1-877-450-8301 to assist you.