If you are the target of a federal wiretap investigation, it is important to consult with an experienced federal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. Federal investigations and prosecutions have very serious consequences, so taking action to protect and defend yourself is crucial for your future.
At Haas Law, we have extensive experience defending clients in cases that involve federal investigations. If you have been the target of a wiretap investigation, let Attorney David Haas put his years of federal experience to work defending you and protecting your rights.
Authorized Federal Wiretaps
A wiretap occurs when a third-party intercepts and monitors real-time conversations. When a state or federal law enforcement agency is the third-party, the wiretap is considered a “lawful interception” as long as the wiretap was legally authorized and implemented.
The rules and procedures that apply to obtaining a federal wiretap are actually quite extensive and controlled. Given the highly invasive nature of a wiretap, a federal law enforcement officer must obtain authorization from a judge to conduct a wiretap investigation. To obtain that authorization, an officer and prosecutor must first provide probable cause that the phone (including cellphones) or computer (including e-mail accounts) has been used to facilitate or commit a crime.
Unlike other types of search warrants, however, providing probable cause it not enough to obtain a wiretap order. The officer or prosecutor must also convince the judge that other, less invasive, investigative procedures have been tried and failed, that they appear to be unlikely to succeed if tried, or that they are too dangerous. In essence, they must prove that a wiretap is the only viable way to obtain the evidence sought. Moreover, if a wiretap is authorized, it will only be authorized for a maximum of 30 days. At the end of that time period, the original order can be extended, but only if a judge grants an extension.
Federal Wiretap Crimes
In order to obtain a federal wiretap, there are specified criminal offenses that the government must be investigating and they are outlined in 18 U.S. Code § 2516. Some of the more commonly used charges include terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering, bribery, sex trafficking, fraud (bank, wire, and mail fraud), and racketeering.
Wiretap Investigation Defenses
If you recently learned that you were (or are) the target of an investigation for one of these federal wiretap offenses, you may be concerned about what the government overheard and what evidence was collected during the investigation. While it is true that evidence obtained pursuant to a wiretap can be damaging, there are defenses that might prevent that damaging evidence from being admitted at trial.
An experienced federal defense attorney may use one of these defenses in a wiretapping case:
- Failure to establish probable cause – For a judge to even consider authorizing a wiretap, the affidavit and/or testimony submitted in support of the request must contain sufficient probable cause. The law enforcement officer/prosecutor may have exaggerated, or even outright lied, in order to establish probable cause and move forward.
- Failure to exhaust other options – Sometimes a law enforcement officer or prosecutor tries to hurry a wiretap request through the court system. That may mean seem harmless enough; however, it directly violates the law if it results in failing to exhaust other possible options.
- Exceeding the scope — All wiretaps come with complex and ever-changing rules and procedures. One of those is that a wiretap cannot exceed 30 days at a time. At the end of that time period, the wiretap must stop unless a request has been filed and granted to extend the time period.
Get Help from an Experienced Federal Defense Attorney When You’ve Been the Target of a Federal Wiretap Investigation
If you find you’re involved in a federal wiretap investigation, do not delay getting help from an experienced federal defense attorney. Instead. Attorney David Haas formerly worked as a federal prosecutor, so he understands how federal investigations work and is dedicated to using his knowledge and experience to protect you, your rights, and your future.
Do not wait until you have been officially charged with a crime to get help. Your best protection is defending against the investigation right now.
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. We know that time is of the essence when federal law enforcement authorities are investigating you, so our calls are answered 24 hours a day. Please don’t hesitate to get the experienced legal help you need.