Phone Recordings Changing Law Enforcement Activity and Criminal Case Outcomes

Many misconceptions exist about using cell phones to record other people's activities, behaviors, and words. When a fight breaks out, an arrest is made, or angry slurs are shouted out for the world to hear, it has become natural for the public to grab their phones and record the activity. What would have previously been a “he said, she said” argument in court may now have video or audio evidence that may significantly impact a case’s outcome. It is undeniable that phone recordings have changed many court cases, notably the George Floyd case and others involving claims of law enforcement’s excessive force and displays of racism.

Is Recording Someone on Your Phone A Crime in San Diego?

It might surprise people that many things can be recorded without breaking the law. Interestingly, an audio recording of a conversation is considered illegal without the person’s permission, but a video is acceptable unless it violates someone’s right to privacy, like in the bathroom or dressing room. Sound confusing? That is precisely why you want a professional defense lawyer on your side if you are facing charges of illegally recording someone. The law is complex and only possible to interpret with a skilled lawyer's extensive education and experience.

Phone video recordings that serve as evidence in criminal court cases are admissible but not in civil cases. If a recording violates someone's privacy but reveals admission or involvement in a serious crime, the recording may be admissible in court as evidence. Interestingly, even if the recording is used in a criminal case, the person who illegally recorded may still face wobbler charges.

Do Police and The Public Have Different Recording and Wiretapping Allowances?

Law enforcement and the police often use wiretapping to gather evidence or admissions in criminal cases. Although the police have different rules to follow when it comes to recording conversations, police use the freedoms of the public when it comes to gathering enough evidence to constitute a court order or warrant. If the police set up a conversation between two parties, they hope to get something incriminating enough to justify further action.

When it comes to eavesdropping or wiretapping charges, unless an electronic device is used, it is not illegal. A crude example is if you lean your ear against the wall to hear a private conversation, that is not illegal, but using an electronic device to hear better would be considered illegal under Penal Codes 631 and 632.

Illegal Phone Recordings and Stalking Cases

One of the most common criminal cases where wobbler charges for wiretapping or illegal recordings are tacked on is stalker cases. When a defendant faces stalking charges, and there is video evidence against the defendant, it is critical to get someone experienced in fighting these additional charges and work to get the best possible outcome. Only a criminal defense attorney with experience can help clients facing stalker charges and wobblers to get charges reduced successfully and, in some cases, dismissed. There is too much at stake to wait for the case's outcome with minimal attention from a court-appointed attorney. The number of variables to be considered is too vast for an average person to address, manage and handle with expertise. When it counts, hire the best. If you are facing criminal charges in Chula Vista, Carlsbad, Oceanside, or Kearney Mesa, Attorney Joni Eisenstein is the best criminal defense attorney, servicing all of San Diego County. Attention to detail and knowledge of the law is unmatched by any other criminal defense law firm. Clients deserve relentless attention to detail and the same level of commitment throughout the case.

If you are facing charges for violating one of these laws in California, you should find a reputable criminal defense attorney to walk you through the process. Without a professional lawyer working your case, the wobbler charges may end up as misdemeanors or, worse, felonies. A criminal defense lawyer will always fight to get charges dismissed, and when that is not possible, the minimal charges and penalties. There is a significant difference between a felony and a misdemeanor conviction when it comes down to the consequences. If convicted, hefty fines are inevitable, and time in jail may be required. Clients with a previous record need a defense lawyer even more so, and only a professional defense attorney can ensure the best possible terms when it comes to bail negotiations, admissible evidence, and penalties.

Attorney Eisenstein advises clients to practice their Fifth Amendment Rights and wait for an attorney to be present before speaking with law enforcement. Reputable defense lawyers will spend time hearing the details of your case, gathering information, and advising on the next steps. The initial free phone consultation will put anyone facing criminal charges at ease and bring clarity on how best to move forward. When facing criminal charges in San Diego County, the potential for devastating results is too high not to get a private criminal defense attorney.

If you are on the fence about hiring a defense attorney, stop thinking about it, and do it now

Hiring a criminal defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein can help you go from a place of uncertainty to freedom.

5 Reasons to Hire a Defense Attorney

Criminal charges easily have the ability to change one’s life drastically. It is important to hire a defense attorney as soon as possible. Hiring a defense attorney who has experience and resources will help in building a strong defense for your case, and in turn, help get you a positive result.

They Have Experience with Cases Like Yours

The first and most practical reason to hire a defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein is that they have experience and practice with cases like yours. While all attorneys “are created equal,” meaning they have attended law school and passed the bar exam, it doesn't necessarily mean that all attorneys have experience in criminal cases. Working with an experienced defense attorney means you are working with someone who deals intensely and intimately with criminal cases. Joni Eisenstein has tried thousands of cases in her nearly 25 years as a defense attorney and understands the California Legal system thoroughly.

Specialties of defense attorneys may include such areas as:

  • DUI
  • Drug Cases
  • Domestic Violence
  • Traffic Violations
  • Minor in Possession
  • Theft/Embezzlement
  • Assault/Battery
  • Sex Crimes
  • Probation Violations
  • Expungements
  • Early Termination of Probation

They Know the Judicial System Better Than You Do

This is literally what attorneys study for years of their life. The judicial system is a series of complex laws and systems that confuse the average person. An experienced defense attorney flourishes in this complexity and can properly and professionally guide you through the undertaking of preparing you and your case for the Court. It’s important to hire a defense attorney as soon as possible so that they can take you along for the process early on. If you or someone you know is in the beginning stages of hiring a defense attorney or thinking about it, Joni Eisenstein provides a free consultation request online that allows you to see if it might be a good fit.

Defense Attorneys Know the Law

In addition to knowing the ins and outs of the judicial system, more specifically, they know the laws regarding law enforcement and what lengths may be taken, or not, to acquire evidence. Oftentimes, the defense attorney has the ability to get the evidence thrown out of the case simply due to the way it was collected. These attorneys know the processes of police and investigators and what they are and are not allowed to do legally for acquiring evidence. If you decide to go at your case alone, you most likely won’t be able to tell if the evidence was collected properly or not.

Surprisingly, They CAN Save You Money

Though you may be surprised, hiring a defense attorney can save you a good amount of money than going at it alone. Investing in someone who can properly lead you through the system and your case is important. While there may be a relatively high fee for hiring a defense attorney, these attorneys have the training, knowledge, and connections to get a better case outcome. Additionally, some losses, like license suspensions or jail time can evoke large income deficits that, depending on each case, a defense attorney may be able to prevent from happening for their client. A 2015 study done by Martindale-Noto Research posed the question about if hiring a DUI lawyer gives you the best outcome and is worth the cost. It appeared that having legal representation lowered the DUI related costs which may be credited to the high insurance increase of the underrepresented.

They Can Help you Navigate Your Legal Options

When you hire a defense attorney, nothing is immediately resolved, nor does it always end as you would hope. With that said, the options and the outcomes will always be laid out for you. Joni Eisenstein knows the inner workings of the Southern California State courts and will be able to be upfront and honest with you in the process. As a team, she will navigate the steps to take with your best interest in mind. Working in this realm for as long as attorney Eisenstein has, she knows the options, and when and if it may be the best option to take a plea deal. There may be options that you don’t know exist in your case, and with a defense attorney, these options will be regular conversations.

If you are on the fence about hiring a defense attorney, stop thinking about it, and do it now

Hiring a criminal defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein can help you go from a place of uncertainty to freedom.