Wiretapping – Using Your Words to Convict You


Wiretapping is allowed in New Jersey. The police can use court-authorized warrants to listen to your phone conversations and look at your emails and texts. If ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, a recording of your incriminating conversation is worth a thousand pictures to the prosecution. If you are charged with a crime and the prosecution uses your conversations to try to convict you, it is critical that your defense lawyer try to suppress the seized communications before they are introduced as evidence against you.

Warrentless Wiretap Symbolism

Motions to Suppress the Use of the Conversations

The defense can file Motions to limit the prosecutor from using this type of evidence. The best outcome would be to suppress not only the seized communications, but also any evidence seized that was developed from the seized communications. Defense counsel will often file a suppression motion arguing that there was insufficient probable cause to support the court-ordered interception of the communications. Unfortunately this is a difficult type of argument to establish; it is very subjective in nature; and, the applicable law does not favor suppression. A better type of attack is to use the limits for interception listed in the NJ wiretap statute – which require ‘minimization’ of the calls actually intercepted.

Minimization Motions Suppress all Seized Communications and all Derivative Evidence

A Minimization Motion attacks the seized communications, by objectively establishing that the conversations should never have been seized. If this Motion is successful, it suppresses all of the seized communications and all evidence the State seized which was derived from the seized conversations. When the State is granted authority to seize the communications, they are required to limit (minimize) the interception of communications that are not part of the crimes under investigation; they are required to limit the hours of interception; and, they are required to limit the interception of those persons who are not involved in committing the crimes as innocent parties. This type of analysis takes ‘a month of 8-hour days’ to complete (it is VERY labor intensive) but if the analysis shows that the State should not have seized the communications it can devastate the State proofs against you by suppressing everything that is related to the improperly seized communications.


If you were wiretapped, or are charged with a crime where the State did use wiretapping, consult immediately with an experienced criminal defense lawyer familiar with wiretapping to determine what issues can be used to protect your rights and your freedom. Call Howard Bailey at 973-982-1200 for a free consultation before you make any decisions on how to fight this type of evidence.