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Los Angeles Invasion of Privacy Attorney

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Privacy Violations in California

Privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed by the California Constitution. As such, invading another’s privacy attracts legal consequences. Many think invasion of privacy is a civil offense where only the victim can sue for damages. But the California Penal Code also makes it a crime, meaning the state can prosecute offenders as well.

When you are accused of invasion of privacy in California, it is crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Knowing the law concerning invasion of privacy is also helpful.

Contact the Law Offices of Christopher Chaney today to find out how we can help you fight California invasion of privacy charges.

What Is Invasion of Privacy in California?

The subject of invasion of privacy is broad and complicated. It can happen in several different ways. Simply put, invasion of privacy can be said to occur when you intentionally intrude into another person’s private affairs without their consent.

California has the Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA), which extensively addresses the subject of criminal invasion of privacy. The Act identifies some common ways in which you can intrude on the privacy of others, including the following:

  • Wiretapping entails intentionally using a machine or instrument to make an unauthorized connection to a telegraph or telephone wire. This also applies when you connect to other instruments of an internal telephonic communication system.
  • Recording & eavesdropping on confidential communications involves willfully using an electronic device to record confidential communication without the consent of everyone involved.
  • Intercepting, receiving, or helping to intercept or receive communication between cellular radiotelephones or between a cellular radio telephone and a landline telephone.
  • Trespassing on someone’s property to commit or attempt to commit an act of invasion of privacy
  • Eavesdropping on a conversation between a person in the physical custody of law enforcement and their attorney or religious adviser.
  • Willfully disclosing the contents of a message addressed to another person without that person’s permission and without being a party to the telegraphic or telephonic communication.
  • Opening a physical or electronic message meant for another person without any authority or consent to learn the content of such message without having any connection with any telegraph or telephone office.

Exceptions to Invasion of Privacy

The provisions in Penal Code §636 prohibiting electronic and non-electronic eavesdropping do not apply to employees who provide telephone or telegraph communications services if they are listening in on conversations to test or service equipment.

Additionally, law enforcement is allowed to eavesdrop on and record otherwise confidential oral communications in cases of emergency. It is allowed if the officer determines that it is reasonable and necessary that eavesdropping on oral communication occur immediately.

Additionally, state and municipal law enforcement agencies involved in criminal investigations can record conversations without the parties’ knowledge. They can also authorize a witness to record a conversation with the alleged suspect without their consent.

Lastly, it is legal for a victim of a crime to record or eavesdrop on someone making threats of harm or to obtain evidence reasonably believed to relate to the crime.

Criminal Penalties for Invasion of Privacy

The consequences you will face when convicted of invasion of privacy vary. Invasion of privacy is a wobbler crime, depending on how severe the offense is. This means it can be charged as both a misdemeanor and a felony. If it is charged as a felony, the punishments are usually more severe than a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor penalties include:

  • Not more than a year in a county jail or in the state prison
  • Not more than $2,500 fine (per violation)
  • Not more than a $10,000 fine (if the offender has previously been found guilty of violating certain sections of the CIPA)

You could serve up to three years in county prison if the offense is charged as a felony.

The criminal statute of limitations for invasion of privacy is usually one year since it is mainly charged as a misdemeanor. This means the prosecution will have up to a year after the crime is committed to charge the perpetrator in court. However, the circumstances of the case may affect the statute of limitations. If prosecuted as a felony, the statute of limitations may be up to 3 years.

Possible Defenses

If you are charged with invasion of privacy, you do not need to panic. Instead, act quickly and hire a lawyer knowledgeable about California criminal law. There are different ways in which your lawyer can defend you. Some common defense grounds include:

Lack of Intent

To be convicted of invasion of privacy, you must be found guilty of intentionally violating another person’s privacy. Your attorney can argue that you did not intend to invade another’s privacy. The court might acquit you if the prosecution can’t prove that it was intentional.


If your lawyer can prove that the recording of the person’s telephone call or the taking of video footage was done with permission, the invasion of privacy charge against you cannot stand.

No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

If the supposed invasion of privacy you are charged with happened in a place where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, you can defend yourself. For example, if a person gets naked on a public road, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. This is a strong and vital defense your attorney can use.

False Accusation

There is also a possibility that you are being charged wrongly, and you were not even involved in the matter. The most appropriate defense for your case depends on the circumstances of your case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you mount a strong defense.

Let Us Help You With Your Criminal Defense

If you are facing invasion of privacy charges in California, it could lead to more severe penalties than you think. Rather than risk potential jail time and a criminal record, contact The Law Offices of Christopher Chaney to help you fight the charge.

Our knowledgeable and fierce lawyers are all you need for your invasion of privacy defense. Our Los Angeles criminal law firm has highly experienced attorneys with the unique ability to develop new defense strategies tailored to solve each of our client’s issues.

We do everything in our power to get you the best results possible from your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Schedule Your Consultation

Regardless of your circumstance, you are not alone in your fight. We are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights, freedom, and reputation. Contact us today to schedule a free remote or in-person consultation, and let us assist you in finding a solution to your problem.