January 4, 2024 By Wallin & Klarich

Can Eavesdropping Be Illegal?

Eavesdropping is the act of secretly listening in on a private conversation without having permission to do so. In California, this can be considered illegal under certain circumstances.

But before we dive into the legality of eavesdropping in California, let’s first understand what exactly constitutes eavesdropping. Generally, it involves using an electronic device or physically placing oneself in a position to overhear conversations that are meant to be private.

If you are facing charges for eavesdropping, you need an aggressive defense attorney on your side. Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL  for your free consultation!

California Penal Code 632

California Penal Code 632 states, “Every person who, intentionally and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrops upon or records the confidential communication, whether the communication is carried on among the parties in the presence of one another or by means of a telegraph, telephone, or other device, except a radio, shall be punished…” This essentially means that it is a crime to use any recording device to listen in on someone’s conversation without their consent. 

California Penal Code Section 632.5 specifically addresses the act of intercepting a call made from a cell phone or cordless phone. If you engage in the interception or receipt of communications transmitted between a cellular radio telephone and a landline telephone without the consent of all parties and with malicious intent, you may be subject to the same consequences as those for eavesdropping.

Furthermore, California Penal Code Section 632.6 constitutes the interception or receipt of communications between a cell phone or landline phone and a cordless phone as a criminal offense, carrying equivalent penalties to those for eavesdropping.

Additionally, if you aid or assist someone in eavesdropping or intercepting phone communications, you can be charged with eavesdropping and face the same penalties and punishments as the individual who actually committed the act of eavesdropping.

In order to be convicted, the prosecutor must prove all of the following:

  • You deliberately listened in on a conversation.
  • The individuals involved in the conversation reasonably believed that it was private and not being monitored or recorded.
  • You did not obtain consent from all parties involved in the conversation.
  • An electronic device was utilized to amplify or record the conversation.

If you have been accused of eavesdropping, you need a skilled defense attorney on your side. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over four decades of experience representing cases like yours. Call our office today for a free consultation!

Eavesdropping – Penalties

The following are potential penalties for an eavesdropping conviction:

For a misdemeanor:

  • Up to 1 year in jail, and/or
  • Up to $2,500 fine

For a felony:

  • 16 months to 3 years in jail, and/or
  • Up to $2,500 fine

For prior eavesdropping or related crime convictions:

  • Up to 1 year in jail, and/or
  • Up to $10,000 fine

In addition to fines and potential jail time, an eavesdropping conviction can have consequences on your personal and professional lives. Family and friends may be less willing to trust you. Potential employers may be less willing to hire you, which can lead to the inability to find steady income. If you have been accused of eavesdropping, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side to help you find the best defenses for your case. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have the experience you need. We offer exceptional service, experience, and affordable payment options to help you manage the cost of hiring a defense attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation!

Eavesdropping – Possible Defenses

There are many defenses that can be raised to defeat or lessen an eavesdropping charge. In the past, we have used the following defenses:

  • No intent
  • No recording device
  • You had consent
  • You had a protective order
  • The conversation occurred in a public setting

While these are valid defenses that have been used in the past, it is important to speak with a skilled attorney to determine which defense(s) work best for your specific case. Call our office today for a free consultation!

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been accused of eavesdropping, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

Contact Us
  •   17592 Irvine Blvd,
      Tustin, CA 92780
  •   (714) 730-5300
  •   (888) 280-6839
SCHEDULE YOUR free consultation

If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, this is the time to contact us.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Copyright © 2024 Wallin & Klarich - All rights reserved

California Criminal Defense Lawyer Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. Any case results presented on the site are based upon the facts of a particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. The contents of this website may contain legal advertising. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a free telephonic consultation. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of California.