When Can the Police Wiretap a Phone?

For years New Hampshire has had a law regulating wiretaps and eavesdropping on the books.  Under RSA 570-A, you cannot record a call without permission from the other person.  Some other states allow one party alone to record or listen in but not New Hampshire.


The police can tap or record with a court order.  But when can they do so without court approval?

First, the police must be investigating an offense covered by RSA 570-A such as sexual assault.  Second, the police can do so if they are making or receiving the call or someone like a crime victim is on the line or consents to allow them in on the call.  Finally, the police may intercept if the Attorney General or his designee approves.


Often disputes between spouses who are going through divorce lead to illegal call listening or recording as to calls to or from their children.  In fact, one case we handled years ago resulted in a $25,000 jury verdict for an ex-wife against her former husband who recorded her calls to the children.

If you have an issue or want counsel to advise you, call the lawyers at Douglas, Leonard, and Garvey for advice to stay on the right side of the law or to work with the police in proper circumstances.  Call (603) 288-1403 or fill out our online contact form.

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