Georgia law defines many crimes. Many of the more obscure offenses are not well known, and as a result, defendants may not know that their conduct was prohibited until they face criminal charges. Electronic surveillance is one such crime. Many states do not expressly prohibit electronic surveillance in their criminal statutes. The Official Code of Georgia, however, clearly defines this and related offenses. It is important for all Georgia residents to know what conduct is prohibited with respect to electronic communications (especially in the current digital age, where the vast majority of communications are made electronically). Experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney Jacob Stidham can explain what conduct is prohibited by Georgia law.
What is Electronic Surveillance?
Section 16-11-62 of the Official Code of Georgia prohibits eavesdropping, surveillance or intercepting communication which violates the privacy of another person. The statute encompasses a broad range of behaviors, such as overhearing, transmitting, or recording a private conversation. It also prohibits the use of any device to observe, photograph, or record the private activities a person engages in outside of public view. The statute also prohibits the interception of telephone, telegraph, letter, or any other means of private communication. In the digital age of electronic communication, this prohibition extends to private emails, text messages, instant messaging, and other electronic communications which are sent privately.
When is Electronic Surveillance a Criminal Offense?
An equipment manager for the University of Georgia football team learned the hard way that electronic surveillance is a criminal offense. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kevin Purvis was arrested and charged with three felony counts of illegal electronic surveillance, a felony charge of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, and a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. CBS Sports reports that Purvis is charged with placing hidden shower cameras in the football locker rooms. So far, the investigation has not identified any student athletes who were victims of the surveillance.
How can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?
Electronic surveillance charges are often filed in combination with other offenses. For example, electronic surveillance may be used to engage in voyeurism, posting revenge porn, conspiring to commit a robbery, and many other crimes. When a defendant faces a wide variety of charges, a defense attorney has the opportunity to mitigate the charges in a plea agreement. A prosecutor may agree to drop lesser charges in exchange for a guilty plea to more serious charges. Or a defendant might be allowed to plead guilty to an offense which carries an agreed-upon penalty. In all these circumstances, the defense attorney’s negotiation of criminal charges can mitigate the damage of a criminal conviction. Fines and jail time can be reduced, a criminal record can bear convictions for lesser offenses, and collateral consequences (such as the suspension of gun rights or driving privileges) can also be mitigated.
The Right Attorney for Your Georgia Felony Case
There are many different types of felonies under Georgia law. Attorney Jacob Stidham is highly experienced in a wide variety of felony cases. He represents DUI defendants in Buford, Suwanee, Gainesville, and Flowery Branch. Call 678-889-7953 today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney. Attorney Stidham practices only criminal law and devotes his practice to the effective protection of defendants’ constitutional rights.