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Florida Phone Recording Laws (Wiretapping)

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Clients often ask our attorneys about Florida phone recording laws as they pertain to Orlando divorce or custody battles, business disputes, white collar crimes, federal drug cases and various other situations.

Every state has specific laws with respect to recording telephone calls. As our video explains, in most cases Florida law requires two party consent to the recording of or the disclosure of a phone conversation. In fact, Florida is one of twelve states that abide by a two party consent law. In cases where more than two people are taking part in the conversation, the consent of all parties is required under Florida law.

A legal term related to the unlawful interception or recording of phone calls is wiretapping. Wiretapping is generally defined as the act of using a listening device to secretly monitor a conversation over the phone, computer or other electronic device.

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Electronic communication surveillance refers to the interception and transfer of data or voices over digital or other electronic equipment such as computers and cell phones.

Both tapping a wire and intercepting information digitally can be grounds for violating one’s personal privacy under the Fourth Amendment. The Federal law known as the Wiretap Act can be found here: 18 U.S.C. 119. Florida law regarding the interception and disclosure of wire, oral or electronic communications can be found in Florida Statutes chapters 934.02 and 934,03.

Can Law Enforcement Legally Wiretap Florida Citizens?

Under federal law, a legal wiretap requires a court issued wiretap order, or warrant. Because of the solemn protection of individual rights under the Fourth Amendment, this type of order is held to higher standards than other types of warrants.

Before a court will issue a wiretap warrant, Florida law enforcement must prove to the court that there is probable cause justifying the act of tapping someone’s phone lines. This generally includes convincing the court that by doing so, police will be able to intercept or deter some form of serious crime such as terrorism, murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, money laundering and various other offenses. In dire cases such as threats to national security, law enforcement may act without first obtaining a warrant.

Wiretap orders may be issued to allow eavesdropping on personal conversations, phone calls and intercepting electronic communications such as email, texting, internet searches and instant messaging. Wiretap orders are limited to certain periods of time and other restrictions.

The Police have Tapped My Phone – What Can I Do?

What happens when someone believes law enforcement’s use of phone recording surveillance is invasive? A vigilant defense attorney will challenge the prosecution in a motion to suppress evidence unlawfully obtained via wiretapping:

  • The attorney can argue that there was insufficient probable cause to support the court-ordered interception of the communications;
  • Did police provide misleading or false statements to the court when petitioning for the wiretap order?
  • Was proceeding with the wiretap premature—had all other means of gathering evidence been exhausted?
  • Did law enforcement seek or have a warrant at all?

Through these and other defenses, a defense attorney can establish to the court that the wiretapping is in violation of the Fourth Amendment. This can result in charges being dropped completely.

Wiretapping charges are serious and Florida phone recording laws are complex. Whether you have been the victim of illegal wiretapping or you are facing criminal charges of intercepting phone conversations, a good defense attorney is imperative to protect your rights. To understand the specific ramifications and statutes that affect your case, please contact TK Law.

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The Orlando divorce lawyers at TK Law are deeply committed to the individuals and families they serve. We are here to help you resolve each legal concern so you can regain control and move forward with your life. You will also have a steadfast, accomplished advocate in your corner to fight for what matters most if a dispute goes to trial.

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Contact our offices today to schedule a confidential consultation with one or our family law attorneys, or call us at 855-572-6376.



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