Wiretapping Changes for Pennsylvania?
When law enforcement suspects that an individual has committed a crime, often, they will perform extensive investigations to learn as much as possible about the offender. For more serious crimes, the investigations can become very high-tech and far-reaching. Police will often make use of advanced technologies to gather information that can be used to obtain a conviction.
Many of these investigations will be into individuals that are suspected of drug crimes. Whether it is drug trafficking, drug manufacturing or any other drug crime, police will aggressively pursue information about their suspects.
There are special rules in place that law enforcement must follow, and evidence may be excluded if law enforcement violates these rules. With the widespread use of cellphones, there is more information available to law enforcement than ever before.
Pennsylvania has recently proposed changes to one of the laws that could have a major impact upon the way that police will be able to investigate crimes. The wiretapping laws within the state would undergo significant changes, making it much easier for police to pursue information to use against suspects.
In the past, the wiretapping law required that police would have to get authorization for each device that they wanted to monitor. If a suspect found out that police had a certain device under surveillance, they could change to a different device. Law enforcement would then have to get permission to monitor the new device.
Officers complained that this took too much time and often allowed valuable information to go undetected. As a result, the new bill would allow for a suspect-based approach, which means that any devices connected to the suspect of an investigation could be monitored. If a person switched devices or cellphones, police could switch just as easily. This would bring the Pennsylvania wiretapping statute in line with the law in several other jurisdictions.
Additionally, data that is stored on cellphones would also be much more accessible by law enforcement officers. Whenever a text message is sent or a phone call is made, the phone must rely upon the closest cellphone tower to complete the activity. If the new law passes, police would be able to obtain this data with the court’s permission. This could show if a suspect was in the area when certain crimes were committed.
The new law would also permit a crime victim or witnesses to record conversations that would reveal evidence that a crime was or is about to be committed. In the past, this conversation could only be used if both parties consented to the recording. This particular aspect of the rule was directly related to a case tried by the attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford
If you have been accused of a crime, it is extremely important to protect your rights. Do not simply plead guilty and hope that the matter will go away. A conviction will have major consequences for the rest of your life. Speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand the options that are available in your situation.