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Can federal investigators tap your phone? 

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2021 | Federal Crimes

When someone is the subject of a federal investigation, the investigators may believe they will divulge sensitive information over the phone. If they’re looking for evidence to back up their case, you can imagine that this is a popular way to get it. 

But can they just listen in on your conversations? When you think you’re talking to someone in private, could investigators actually be listening? 

They can only do so with proper permission

It is possible for the authorities to tap your phone and record your conversations. However, they cannot just do it on a hunch or whenever they want. There are very important steps that they must follow, including getting permission from a judge. 

In a lot of ways, it works similarly to the process of getting a search warrant. The officers must have an affidavit. They must swear under oath that what they’re telling the judge is true. If the judge thinks that there is an acceptable reason for a wiretap and that they have enough evidence already, he or she can allow one. If the judge thinks the facts do not support the wiretap, he or she can deny the request. 

Are wiretaps on phones common? They are not. Standard search warrants are much more common. But there are instances where a judge will sign off on a wiretap or some other type of electronic monitoring. This can happen during a federal investigation, whether you’re aware of it or not. 

Were your rights violated?

If you’ve been arrested, you may believe that an illegal wiretap contributed to that arrest. If so, you need to know about all of the legal defense options at your disposal.