One’s privacy is regarded very highly by the law. Violations of a person’s privacy are taken very seriously by law enforcement and prosecutors. No legal right to privacy exists on its own but instead exists as an extension of other rights. For this reason, there is no law defining privacy generally, but the law does describe certain offenses against privacy. Privacy is heavily protected and highly valued. Anyone charged with a crime against privacy should seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.
The idea of privacy in a legal sense can be hard to pin down. Privacy as a legal right is very broad and may encompass many different aspects of our day to day lives. While defining privacy is difficult, it is easy to know when privacy has been violated. If you or someone you know has been charged with violating someone’s privacy, contact our Utah Lawyer for Criminal Code § 76-9-4 offenses against privacy at Overson Law, PLLC. Call (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free legal consultation.
Definition of Offenses Against Privacy in Utah
Offenses against privacy under the Utah Criminal Code encompass multiple crimes that are associated with different penalties. These offenses are more often misdemeanors than they are felonies, so their penalties tend to be relatively less severe. However, civil penalties for offenses against someone’s privacy may be more severe and will be resolved in a separate civil trial. Our Utah Lawyer for Criminal Code § 76-9-4 offenses against privacy are here to help you no matter what offense you have been charged with. The crimes included in this section are…
This violation encompasses offenses that involve eavesdropping. Eavesdropping is defined as overhearing or recording someone else’s communication without their consent. Eavesdropping may be performed in person or by means of an electronic or mechanical device.
The offense of privacy violation occurs when you eavesdrop while trespassing on another’s property, by installing a device intended to eavesdrop, or using an eavesdropping device outside of someone else’s private property to amplify private communications that would otherwise not be able to be observed. This offense is a class B misdemeanor.
The offense of communication abuse involves using communication devices to infringe on the privacy of others. It may be completed by intercepting a private message without the consent of either the sending or receiving party. This includes messages sent by any means of confidential communication, including phone calls, emails, and letters.
This crime can also involve divulging private information obtained from an intercepted message without consent. However, the person revealing the information must know that it was illegally obtained. In either circumstance, this offense is a class B misdemeanor.
The offense of criminal defamation involves knowingly ruining or damaging the reputation of someone else. Someone who communicates information they know to be false and will open someone else to public embarrassment or disdain may be guilty of this offense. The communication may be orally or in writing. This is also a class B misdemeanor.
Abuse of Personal Identity
Do not confuse this crime with identity theft. Criminal abuse of personal identity does not involve stealing someone else’s identity but instead involves using someone’s identity without consent for advertising or commercial purposes. Knowingly publishing or advertising material in which another’s personal identity is implied or directly stated to approve or endorse something constitutes the abuse of their personal identity. For example, publishing an advertisement in which you claim a celebrity endorses a product may be an abuse of personal identity if that celebrity did not consent to the use of their identity in the advertisement. This is a class B misdemeanor.
Unlawful Installation of a Tracking Device
A defendant may be guilty of the offense of unlawful installation of a tracking device if they knowingly install a tracking device on the motor vehicle of another without consent. This offense may also be completed by directing another person to do the installation. A tracking device may be any electronic device that transmits a signal revealing the motor vehicle’s location to which it is attached. This is a class A misdemeanor.
The offenses mentioned above should be taken seriously as they may come with prison terms and hefty fines. Get help from our Utah Lawyer for Criminal Code § 76-9-4 offenses against privacy.
Defenses to Offenses Against Privacy in Utah
Each crime under this section of the Utah Criminal Code involves action by the defendant without the alleged victim’s consent. Naturally, a defense to charges of offenses against privacy would be that the defendant did, in fact, have the permission of the alleged victim.
However, a defendant may have a defense even without the consent of the alleged victim. For example, law enforcement may attach a tracking device to someone’s motor vehicle without their permission pursuant to a court order. It is also not communication abuse if the defendant overheard private messages by mistake, such as over a telephone party line. Along with that, a defendant can argue that the device they used to eavesdrop on the alleged victim was being operated for another legitimate purpose, and the eavesdropping was only accidental.
To determine the best defense for your case, contact our experienced Utah Lawyer for Criminal Code § 76-9-4 offenses against privacy at Overson Law, PLLC.
Penalties for Violations of Utah Criminal Code § 76-9-4
The penalties for a conviction of an offense against privacy is relatively minor but should still be taken seriously. The above-mentioned offenses are generally either class A or B misdemeanors. A class B misdemeanor may carry a prison term of no more than 6 months. A class A misdemeanor may carry a prison term of no more than 364 days. While the criminal penalties are somewhat slight, there may be additional civil penalties.
The alleged victim may choose to sue you civilly for damages. If that is the case, you will have a separate civil trial in which the alleged victim will claim damages. If you lose, you will most likely have to compensate the victim financially. Depending on your case, you could end up paying a lot of money in civil court. You should hire our Utah Lawyer for Criminal Code § 76-9-4 offenses against privacy.
Call Our Utah Attorney for Offenses Against Privacy to Schedule a Free Legal Consultation
If you or someone you know have been charged with offenses against privacy in Utah, you should contact an attorney to handle the case. Privacy is highly valued in our society, and privacy violations are not to be taken lightly. Contact our skilled Utah Lawyer for Criminal Code § 76-9-4 offenses against privacy at Overson Law, PLLC. Call (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free legal consultation.