Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
6/18/2019

Chapter 6. Interception of Wire, Electronic or Oral Communications.

§ 19.2-61. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

"Aggrieved person" means a person who was a party to any intercepted wire, electronic or oral communication or a person against whom the interception was directed;

"Aural transfer" means a transfer containing the human voice at any point between and including the point of origin and the point of reception;

"Communications common carrier" means any person engaged as a common carrier for hire in communication by wire or radio or in radio transmission of energy;

"Contents" when used with respect to any wire, electronic or oral communication, includes any information concerning the substance, purport or meaning of that communication;

"Electronic, mechanical or other device" means any device or apparatus that can be used to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication other than:

(a) Any telephone or telegraph instrument, equipment or facility, or any component thereof, (i) furnished to the subscriber or user by a provider of wire or electronic communication service in the ordinary course of its business and being used by the subscriber or user in the ordinary course of its business or furnished by the subscriber or user for connection to the facilities of such service and used in the ordinary course of the subscriber's or user's business; or (ii) being used by a communications common carrier in the ordinary course of its business, or by an investigative or law-enforcement officer in the ordinary course of his duties;

(b) A hearing aid or similar device being used to correct subnormal hearing to not better than normal;

"Electronic communication" means any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photooptical system. The term does not include:

1. Any wire communication or oral communication as defined herein;

2. Any communication made through a tone-only paging device;

3. Any communication from an electronic or mechanical device which permits the tracking of the movement of a person or object; or

4. Any electronic funds transfer information stored by a financial institution in a communications system used for the electronic storage and transfer of funds;

"Electronic communication service" means any service which provides to users thereof the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications;

"Electronic communication system" means any wire, radio, electromagnetic, photooptical or photoelectronic facilities for the transmission of wire or electronic communications, and any computer facilities or related electronic equipment for the electronic storage of such communications;

"Electronic storage" means any temporary, intermediate storage of a wire or electronic communication incidental to the electronic transmission thereof and any storage of such communication by an electronic communication service for purposes of backup protection of such communication;

"Intercept" means any aural or other means of acquisition of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical or other device;

"Investigative or law-enforcement officer" means any officer of the United States or of a state or political subdivision thereof, who is empowered by law to conduct investigations of or to make arrests for offenses enumerated in this chapter, and any attorney authorized by law to prosecute or participate in the prosecution of such offenses;

"Judge of competent jurisdiction" means a judge of any circuit court of the Commonwealth with general criminal jurisdiction;

"Monitor" or "monitoring" means the actual auditory or visual acquisition of an intercepted communication by any means;

"Oral communication" means any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectations but does not include any electronic communication;

"Pen register" means a device or process that records or decodes dialing, routing, addressing or signaling information transmitted by an instrument or facility from which a wire or electronic communication is transmitted; however, such information shall not include the contents of any communication. The term does not include any device or process used by a provider or customer of a wire or electronic communication service for billing, or recording as an incident to billing, for communications services provided by such provider or any device or process used by a provider or customer of a wire communication service for cost accounting or other like purposes in the ordinary course of the provider's or customer's business;

"Person" means any employee or agent of the Commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof, and any individual, partnership, association, joint stock company, trust or corporation;

"Readily accessible to the general public" means, with respect to a radio communication, that such communication is not (i) scrambled or encrypted; (ii) transmitted using modulation techniques whose essential parameters have been withheld from the public with the intention of preserving the privacy of such communication; (iii) carried on a subcarrier or other signal subsidiary to a radio transmission; (iv) transmitted over a communication system provided by a communications common carrier, unless the communication is a tone-only paging system communication; or (v) transmitted on frequencies allocated under Part 25, subpart D, E, or F of Part 74, or Part 94 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission, unless, in the case of a communication transmitted on a frequency allocated under Part 74 that is not exclusively allocated to broadcast auxiliary services, the communication is a two-way voice communication by radio;

"Remote computing service" means the provision to the public of computer storage or processing services by means of an electronic communications system;

"Trap and trace device" means a device or process that captures the incoming electronic or other impulses that identify the originating number or other dialing, routing, addressing and signaling information reasonably likely to identify the source of a wire or electronic communication; however, such information shall not include the contents of any communication;

"User" means any person or entity who uses an electronic communication service and is duly authorized by the provider of such service to engage in such use;

"Wire communication" means any aural transfer made in whole or in part through the use of facilities for the transmission of communications by the aid of wire, cable, or other like connection, including the use of such connection in a switching station, furnished or operated by any person engaged in providing or operating such facilities for the transmission of communications.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.1; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495; 1988, c. 889; 2002, cc. 588, 623; 2005, c. 934.

§ 19.2-62. Interception, disclosure, etc., of wire, electronic or oral communications unlawful; penalties; exceptions.

A. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter any person who:

1. Intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, electronic or oral communication;

2. Intentionally uses, endeavors to use, or procures any other person to use or endeavor to use any electronic, mechanical or other device to intercept any oral communication;

3. Intentionally discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication; or

4. Intentionally uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication; shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

B. 1. It shall not be unlawful under this chapter for an operator of a switchboard, or an officer, employee or agent of a provider of wire or electronic communications service, whose facilities are used in the transmission of a wire communication, to intercept, disclose or use that communication in the normal course of his employment while engaged in any activity which is a necessary incident to the rendition of his service or to the protection of the rights or property of the provider of that service. However, a provider of wire communication service to the public shall not utilize service observing or random monitoring except for mechanical or service quality control checks. It shall not be a criminal offense under this chapter for providers of wire or electronic communications service, their officers, employees and agents, landlords, custodians, or other persons pursuant to a court order under this chapter, to provide information facilities or technical assistance to an investigative or law-enforcement officer, who, pursuant to this chapter, is authorized to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication.

2. It shall not be a criminal offense under this chapter for a person to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication, where such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception.

3. It shall not be a criminal offense under this chapter for any person:

(a) To intercept or access an electronic communication made through an electronic communication system that is configured so that such electronic communication is readily accessible to the general public;

(b) To intercept any radio communication which is transmitted (i) by any station for the use of the general public, or that relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress, (ii) by any governmental, law-enforcement, civil defense, private land mobile, or public safety communications system, including police and fire, readily accessible to the general public, (iii) by a station operating on an authorized frequency within the bands allocated to the amateur, citizens band, or general mobile radio services; or (iv) by any marine or aeronautical communications system;

(c) To intercept any wire or electronic communication the transmission of which is causing harmful interference to any lawfully operating station or consumer electronic equipment, to the extent necessary to identify the source of such interference;

(d) Using the same frequency to intercept any radio communication made through a system that utilizes frequencies monitored by individuals engaged in the provision or the use of such system, if such communication is not scrambled or encrypted;

(e) To use a pen register or a trap and trace device pursuant to §§ 19.2-70.1 and 19.2-70.2; or

(f) Who is a provider of electronic communication service to record the fact that a wire or electronic communication was initiated or completed in order to protect such provider, another provider furnishing service toward the completion of the wire or electronic communication, or a user of that service, from fraudulent, unlawful or abusive use of such service.

C. A person or entity providing an electronic communication service to the public shall not intentionally divulge the contents of any communication, other than one to such person or entity or an agent thereof, while in transmission on that service to any person or entity other than an addressee or intended recipient of such communication or an agent of the addressee or intended recipient. However, a person or entity providing electronic communication service to the public may divulge the contents of any such communication:

1. As authorized in subdivision B 1 of this section or § 19.2-67;

2. With the lawful consent of the originator or any addressee or intended recipient of such communication;

3. To a person employed or authorized, or whose facilities are used, to forward such communication to its destination; or

4. Which were inadvertently obtained by the service provider and which appear to pertain to the commission of a crime, to a law-enforcement agency.

Conduct otherwise an offense under this subsection that consists of or relates to the interception of a satellite transmission that is not encrypted or scrambled and that is transmitted (i) to a broadcasting station for purposes of retransmission to the general public, or (ii) as an audio subcarrier intended for redistribution to facilities open to the public, but not including data transmissions or telephone calls, is not an offense under this section unless the conduct is for the purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage or private financial gain. Further, private viewing of a satellite video communication that is not scrambled or encrypted and interception of a radio communication that is transmitted on frequencies allocated under subpart D of Part 74 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission that is not scrambled or encrypted when the viewing or interception is not done for a tortious or illegal purpose or for purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage or private commercial gain, shall not be offenses under this chapter.

Violation of this subsection shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.2; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495; 1988, c. 889; 2004, c. 149.

§ 19.2-63. Manufacture, possession, sale or advertising of certain devices unlawful; penalties; exceptions.

A. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, any person who intentionally:

1. Manufactures, assembles, possesses, or sells any electronic, mechanical, or other device, knowing or having reason to know that the design of such device renders it primarily useful for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of wire, electronic or oral communications; or

2. Places in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publication any advertisement of:

(a) Any electronic, mechanical, or other device knowing or having reason to know that the design of such device renders it primarily useful for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of wire, electronic or oral communications, or

(b) Any other electronic, mechanical, or other device where such advertisement promotes the use of such device for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of wire, electronic or oral communications; shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

B. It shall not be unlawful under this section for:

1. A provider of wire or electronic communication service or an officer, agent, or employee of, or a person under contract with, such provider in the normal course of the provider's business, or

2. An officer, agent, or employee of, or a person under contract with the United States, the Commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof, in the normal course of the activities of the United States, the Commonwealth, or a political subdivision thereof, to manufacture, assemble, possess, or sell any electronic, mechanical, or other device knowing or having reason to know that the design of such device renders it primarily useful for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of wire, electronic or oral communications.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.3; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495; 1988, c. 889.

§ 19.2-63.1. Supervision and control of devices; unauthorized possession.

Any electronic, mechanical or other device as defined in this chapter which is in the possession of any sheriff's office or police department of a county, city or town, or in the possession of any employee of such office, shall be under the direct control and supervision of the sheriff or chief of police of the office or department or his designee who is an employee of the office or department. Unauthorized possession of any such device under the provisions of this section by any such employee is unlawful, notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision B 2 of § 19.2-63, and a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1978, c. 63; 1988, c. 889; 2011, c. 193.

§ 19.2-64. Forfeiture of unlawful devices.

Any electronic, mechanical or other device used, manufactured, assembled, possessed, sold, or advertised in violation of § 19.2-62 or § 19.2-63 may be seized and forfeited to the Commonwealth, and turned over to the court of record in the city or county in which it was seized and such property shall be disposed of in such manner as the court may direct.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.4; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-65. When intercepted communications and evidence derived therefrom not to be received in evidence.

Whenever any wire or oral communication has been intercepted, no part of the contents of such communication and no evidence derived therefrom may be received in evidence in any trial, hearing or other proceeding in or before any court, grand jury, department, officer, commission, regulatory body, legislative committee or other agency of this Commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof if the disclosure of that information would be in violation of this chapter.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.5; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-66. When Attorney General or Chief Deputy Attorney General may apply for order authorizing interception of communications.

A. The Attorney General or Chief Deputy Attorney General, if the Attorney General so designates in writing, in any case where the Attorney General is authorized by law to prosecute or pursuant to a request in his official capacity of an attorney for the Commonwealth in any city or county, may apply to a judge of competent jurisdiction for an order authorizing the interception of wire, electronic or oral communications by the Department of State Police, when such interception may reasonably be expected to provide evidence of the commission of a felonious offense of extortion, bribery, kidnapping, murder, any felony violation of § 18.2-248 or 18.2-248.1, any felony violation of Chapter 29 (§ 59.1-364 et seq.) of Title 59.1, any felony violation of Article 2 (§ 18.2-38 et seq.), Article 2.1 (§ 18.2-46.1 et seq.), Article 2.2 (§ 18.2-46.4 et seq.), Article 5 (§ 18.2-58 et seq.), Article 6 (§ 18.2-59 et seq.) or any felonies that are not Class 6 felonies in Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2, or any conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing offenses. The Attorney General or Chief Deputy Attorney General may apply for authorization for the observation or monitoring of the interception by a police department of a county or city, by a sheriff's office, or by law-enforcement officers of the United States. Such application shall be made, and such order may be granted, in conformity with the provisions of § 19.2-68.

B. The application for an order under subsection B of § 19.2-68 shall be made as follows:

1. In the case of an application for a wire or electronic interception, a judge of competent jurisdiction shall have the authority to issue an order under subsection B of § 19.2-68 if there is probable cause to believe that an offense was committed, is being committed, or will be committed or the person or persons whose communications are to be intercepted live, work, subscribe to a wire or electronic communication system, maintain an address or a post office box, or are making the communication within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.

2. In the case of an application for an oral intercept, a judge of competent jurisdiction shall have the authority to issue an order under subsection B of § 19.2-68 if there is probable cause to believe that an offense was committed, is being committed, or will be committed or the physical location of the oral communication to be intercepted is within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.

C. For the purposes of an order entered pursuant to subsection B of § 19.2-68 for the interception of a wire or electronic communication, such communication shall be deemed to be intercepted in the jurisdiction where the order is entered, regardless of the physical location or the method by which the communication is captured or routed to the monitoring location.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.6; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495; 1976, c. 271; 1979, c. 602; 1982, cc. 40, 274; 1988, cc. 855, 889; 2002, cc. 588, 623; 2004, c. 122; 2005, c. 934; 2011, cc. 403, 414; 2013, cc. 448, 664.

§ 19.2-67. Disclosure of information obtained by authorized means.

A. Any investigative or law-enforcement officer, or police officer of a county or city, who, by any means authorized by this chapter, has obtained knowledge of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, may disclose such contents to another investigative or law-enforcement officer, or police officer of a county or city, to the extent that such disclosure is appropriate to the proper performance of the official duties of the officer making or receiving the disclosure.

B. Any investigative or law-enforcement officer or police officer of a county or city, who, by any means authorized by this chapter, has obtained knowledge of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication or evidence derived therefrom may use such contents to the extent such use is appropriate to the proper performance of his official duties.

C. Any person who has received, by any means authorized by this chapter, any information concerning a wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom intercepted in accordance with the provisions of this chapter may disclose the contents of that communication or such derivative evidence while giving testimony under oath or affirmation in any criminal proceeding for an offense specified in § 19.2-66, or any conspiracy or attempt to commit the same, in any court of the United States or of any state or in any federal or state grand jury proceeding.

D. No wire, electronic or oral communication which is a privileged communication between the parties to the conversation which is intercepted in accordance with, or in violation of, the provisions of this chapter shall lose its privileged character, nor shall it be disclosed or used in any way.

E. When an investigative or law-enforcement officer, or police officer of a county or city, while engaged in intercepting wire, electronic or oral communications in the manner authorized herein, or observing or monitoring such interception intercepts, observes or monitors wire, electronic or oral communications relating to offenses other than those specified in the order of authorization, the contents thereof, and evidence derived therefrom, shall not be disclosed or used as provided in subsections A, B and C of this section, unless such communications or derivative evidence relates to a felony, in which case use or disclosure may be made as provided in subsections A, B and C of this section. Such use and disclosure pursuant to subsection C of this section shall be permitted only when approved by a judge of competent jurisdiction where such judge finds, on subsequent application, that such communications were otherwise intercepted in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Violations of this subsection E shall be punishable as provided in § 19.2-62.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.7; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495; 1976, c. 231; 1979, c. 602; 1983, c. 536; 1988, c. 889.

§ 19.2-68. Application for and issuance of order authorizing interception; contents of order; recording and retention of intercepted communications, applications and orders; notice to parties; introduction in evidence of information obtained.

A. Each application for an order authorizing the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication shall be made in writing upon oath or affirmation to the appropriate judge of competent jurisdiction and shall state the applicant's authority to make such application. Each application shall be verified by the Attorney General to the best of his knowledge and belief and shall include the following information:

1. The identity of the attorney for the Commonwealth and law-enforcement officer who requested the Attorney General to apply for such order;

2. A full and complete statement of the facts and circumstances relied upon by the applicant to justify his belief that an order should be issued, including (i) details as to the particular offense that has been, is being or is about to be committed, (ii) except as provided in subsection I, a particular description of the nature and location of the facilities from which or the place where the communication is to be intercepted, (iii) a particular description of the type of communications sought to be intercepted, (iv) the identity of the person, if known, committing the offense and whose communications are to be intercepted;

3. A full and complete statement as to whether or not other investigative procedures have been tried and failed or why they reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if tried or to be too dangerous;

4. A statement of the period of time for which the interception is required to be maintained. If the nature of the investigation is such that the authorization for interception should not automatically terminate when the described type of communication has been first obtained, a particular description of facts establishing probable cause to believe that additional communications of the same type will occur thereafter;

5. A full and complete statement of the facts concerning all previous applications known to the individual authorizing and making the application, made to any judge for authorization to intercept wire, electronic or oral communications involving any of the same persons, facilities or places specified in the application, and the action taken by the judge on each such application;

6. Where the application is for the extension of an order, a statement setting forth the results thus far obtained from the interception, or a reasonable explanation of the failure to obtain such results; and

7. If authorization is requested for observation or monitoring by a police department of a county or city, by a sheriff's office, or by law-enforcement officers of the United States, a statement containing the name of the police department, sheriff's office, or United States agency and an explanation of the reasons such observation or monitoring is necessary.

The judge may require the applicant to furnish additional testimony or documentary evidence in support of the application.

B. Upon such application the judge may enter an ex parte order, as requested or as modified, authorizing interception of wire, electronic or oral communications if the judge determines on the basis of the facts submitted by the applicant that:

1. There is probable cause for belief that an individual is committing, has committed or is about to commit an offense enumerated in § 19.2-66 of this chapter;

2. There is probable cause for belief that particular communications concerning that offense will be obtained through such interception;

3. Normal investigative procedures have been tried and have failed, or reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if tried, or to be too dangerous; and interception under this chapter is the only alternative investigative procedure available;

4. Except as provided in subsection I, there is probable cause for belief that the facilities from which, or the place where, the wire, electronic or oral communications are to be intercepted are being used, or are about to be used, in connection with the commission of such offense, or are leased to, listed in the name of, or commonly used by such person;

5. A wire, electronic or oral communication authorized to be intercepted pursuant to this section may be monitored at any location within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

C. Each order authorizing the interception of any wire, electronic or oral communication shall specify:

1. The identity of the person, if known, whose communications are to be intercepted;

2. The nature and location of the communications facilities as to which, or the place where, authority to intercept is granted;

3. A particular description of the type of communication sought to be intercepted, and a statement of the particular offense enumerated in § 19.2-66 to which it relates;

4. That such interception is to be conducted only by the Department of State Police;

5. If observation or monitoring by the police department of a county or city, by a sheriff's office, or by law-enforcement officers of the United States is authorized, only that police department, sheriff's office, or agency or the officers from any police department of a town which originated the investigation leading to the application shall observe or monitor the interception; and

6. The period of time during which such interception is authorized, including a statement as to whether or not the interception shall automatically terminate when the described communication has been first obtained.

An order authorizing the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication shall, upon request of the applicant, direct that a provider of wire or electronic communications service, landlord, custodian or other person shall furnish the Department of State Police forthwith all information, facilities and technical assistance necessary to accomplish the interception unobtrusively and with a minimum of interference with the services that such service provider, landlord, custodian or person is providing the person whose communications are to be intercepted. Any provider of wire or electronic communications service, landlord, custodian or other person furnishing such facilities or technical assistance shall be compensated therefor by the Commonwealth for reasonable and actual expenses incurred in providing such facilities or assistance, to be paid out of the criminal fund.

D. No order entered under this section may authorize the interception of any wire, electronic or oral communication for any period longer than is necessary to achieve the objective of the authorization, nor in any event longer than 30 days which period begins to run on the earlier of the day on which the investigative or law-enforcement officer begins to conduct an interception under the order or 10 days after the date of entry of the order. Extensions of an order may be granted, but only upon application for an extension made in accordance with subsection A of this section and the court's making the findings required by subsection B of this section. The period of extension shall be no longer than the authorizing judge deems necessary to achieve the purposes for which it was granted and in no event for longer than 30 days. Every order and extension thereof shall contain a provision that the authorization to intercept shall be executed as soon as practicable, shall be conducted in such a way as to minimize the interception of communications not otherwise subject to interception under this chapter, and must terminate upon attainment of the authorized objective, or in any event in 30 days. In the event the intercepted communication is in a code or foreign language, and an expert in that foreign language or code is not reasonably available during the interception period, minimization may be accomplished as soon as practicable after such interception.

E. Whenever an order authorizing interception is entered pursuant to this chapter, the order shall require reports to be made to the judge who issued the order showing what progress has been made toward achievement of the authorized objective and the need for continued interception. Such reports shall be made at such intervals as the judge shall require.

F. 1. The contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication intercepted by any means authorized by this chapter shall, if possible, be recorded on tape or wire or other comparable device. Should it not be possible to record the intercepted communication, a detailed resume of such communication shall forthwith be reduced to writing and filed with the court. The recording of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication under this subsection shall be done in such way as will protect the recording from editing or other alterations and shall not be duplicated except upon order of the court as hereafter provided. Immediately upon the expiration of the period of the order, or extensions thereof, such recording or detailed resume shall be made available to the judge issuing such order and sealed under his directions. Custody of any recordings or detailed resumes shall be vested with the court and shall not be destroyed for a period of 10 years from the date of the order and then only by direction of the court; provided, however, should any interception fail to reveal any information related to the offense or offenses for which it was authorized, such recording or resume shall be destroyed after the expiration of 60 days after the notice required by subdivision 4 of this subsection is served. Duplicate recordings may be made for use or disclosure pursuant to the provisions of subsections A and B of § 19.2-67 for investigations. The presence of the seal provided for by this subsection, or a satisfactory explanation for the absence thereof, shall be a prerequisite for the use or disclosure of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication or evidence derived therefrom under subsection C of § 19.2-67.

2. Applications made and orders granted or denied under this chapter shall be sealed by the judge. Custody of the applications and orders shall be wherever the judge directs. Such applications and orders shall be disclosed only upon a showing of good cause before a judge of competent jurisdiction and shall not be destroyed except on order of the issuing or denying judge, and in any event shall be kept for 10 years.

3. Any violation of the provisions of this subsection may be punished as contempt of the issuing or denying court.

4. Within a reasonable time but not later than 90 days after the filing of an application for an order of authorization which is denied or the termination of the period of an order or extensions thereof, the issuing or denying judge shall cause to be served, on the persons named in the order or the application, and such other parties to intercepted communications as the judge may determine in his discretion that is in the interest of justice, an inventory which shall include notice of:

(a) The fact of the entry of the order or the application;

(b) The date of the entry and the period of authorized interception, or the denial of the application;

(c) The fact that during the period wire, electronic or oral communications were or were not intercepted; and

(d) The fact that unless he files a motion with the court within 60 days after the service of notice upon him, the recordation or resume may be destroyed in accordance with subdivision 1 of this subsection.

The judge, upon the filing of a motion, shall make available to such person or his counsel for inspection the intercepted communications, applications and orders. The serving of the inventory required by this subsection may be postponed for additional periods, not to exceed 30 days each, upon the ex parte showing of good cause to a judge of competent jurisdiction.

G. The contents of any intercepted wire, electronic or oral communication or evidence derived therefrom shall not be received in evidence or otherwise disclosed in any trial, hearing or other proceeding in a state court unless each party to the communication and to such proceeding, not less than 10 days before the trial, hearing or proceeding, has been furnished with a copy of the court order, accompanying application under which the interception was authorized and the contents of any intercepted wire, electronic or oral communication that is to be used in any trial, hearing or other proceeding in a state court. This 10-day period may be waived by the judge if he finds that it was not possible to furnish the party with the above information 10 days before the trial, hearing or proceeding and that the party will not be prejudiced by the delay in receiving such information; provided that such information in any event shall be given prior to the day of the trial, and the inability to comply with such 10-day period shall be grounds for the granting of a continuance to either party.

The judge who considers an application for an interception under this chapter, whether issuing or denying the order, shall be disqualified from presiding at any trial resulting from or in any manner connected with such interception, regardless of whether the evidence acquired thereby is used in such trial.

H. Any aggrieved person in any trial, hearing or proceeding in or before any court, department, officer, agency, regulatory body or other authority of the Commonwealth, or a political subdivision thereof, may move to suppress the contents of any intercepted wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, on the grounds that:

1. The communication was unlawfully intercepted, or was not intercepted in compliance with this chapter; or

2. The order of the authorization or approval under which it was intercepted is insufficient on its face; or

3. The interception was not made in conformity with the order of authorization or approval; or

4. The interception is not admissible into evidence in any trial, proceeding or hearing in a state court under the applicable rules of evidence.

Such motion shall be made before the trial, hearing or proceeding unless there was no opportunity to make such motion or the person was not aware of the grounds of the motion. If the motion is granted pursuant to subdivision 1, 2 or 3 of this subsection, the contents of the intercepted wire, electronic or oral communication or evidence derived therefrom shall be treated as having been obtained in violation of this chapter. The judge, upon the filing of such motion by the aggrieved person, shall make available to the aggrieved person, or his counsel, for inspection the intercepted communication.

I. The requirements of subdivision 2 of subsection A and subdivision 4 of subsection B of this section relating to the specification of the facilities from which, or the place where, the communication is to be intercepted do not apply if:

1. In the case of an application with respect to the interception of an oral communication:

(a) The application contains a full and complete statement as to why such specification is not practical and identifies the person committing the offense and whose communications are to be intercepted; and

(b) The judge finds that such specification is not practical; or

2. In the case of an application with respect to a wire or electronic communication:

(a) the application identifies the person believed to be committing the offense and whose communications are to be intercepted and the applicant makes a showing of a purpose, on the part of that person, to thwart interception by changing facilities; and

(b) the judge finds that such purpose has been adequately shown.

The interception of a communication under an order issued pursuant to this subsection shall not begin until the facilities from which, or the place where, the communication is to be intercepted is ascertained by the person implementing the interception order. A provider of wire or electronic communications service that has received an order issued pursuant to this subdivision 2 may move the court to modify or quash the order on the ground that its assistance with respect to the interception cannot be performed in a timely or reasonable fashion. The court, upon notice to the Attorney General, shall decide the motion expeditiously.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.8; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495; 1976, c. 163; 1977, c. 335; 1979, c. 602; 1980, c. 244; 1988, c. 889; 2002, c. 91; 2005, c. 934; 2013, cc. 448, 664.

§ 19.2-69. Civil action for unlawful interception, disclosure or use.

Any person whose wire, electronic or oral communication is intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of this chapter shall (i) have a civil cause of action against any person who intercepts, discloses or uses, or procures any other person to intercept, disclose or use such communications, and (ii) be entitled to recover from any such person:

1. Actual damages but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of $400 a day for each day of violation or $4,000, whichever is higher, provided that liquidated damages shall be computed at the rate of $800 a day for each day of violation or $8,000, whichever is higher, if the wire, electronic, or oral communication intercepted, disclosed, or used is between (i) a husband and wife; (ii) an attorney and client; (iii) a licensed practitioner of the healing arts and patient; (iv) a licensed professional counselor, licensed clinical social worker, licensed psychologist, or licensed marriage and family therapist and client; or (v) a clergy member and person seeking spiritual counsel or advice;

2. Punitive damages; and

3. A reasonable attorney's fee and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.

A good faith reliance on a court order or legislative authorization shall constitute a complete defense to any civil or criminal action brought under this chapter or under any other law.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.9; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495; 1988, c. 889; 2010, c. 343; 2015, c. 672.

§ 19.2-70. Reports to be filed by courts and Attorney General.

All courts of the Commonwealth and the Attorney General shall file all reports required by 18 U.S.C.A. § 2519. The Attorney General shall file a written report with the Clerks of the Senate and House of Delegates on or before December 31 of each year setting forth the number of applications made pursuant to this chapter, the number of interceptions authorized, the number of arrests resulting from each application, the number of convictions including a breakdown by offense, the cost of each application granted and the number of requests denied. Such information shall be made available by such Clerks to any member of the General Assembly upon request. However, notwithstanding the above requirements, no report shall be made concerning a granted application until after all inventories associated with such application are served pursuant to subdivision F 4 of § 19.2-68.

Code 1950, § 19.1-89.10; 1973, c. 442; 1975, c. 495; 2011, cc. 403, 414.

§ 19.2-70.1. General prohibition on pen register and trap and trace device use; exceptions.

Except as provided in this section, no person may install or use a pen register or a trap and trace device without first obtaining a court order under § 19.2-70.2.

However, a court order shall not be required for use of a pen register or trap and trace device by a provider of electronic or wire communication service (i) relating to the operation, maintenance, and testing of a wire or electronic communication service or to the protection of the rights or property of the provider, or to the protection of users of that service from abuse of service or unlawful use of service; (ii) to record the fact that a wire or electronic communication was initiated or completed in order to protect such provider, another provider furnishing service toward the completion of the wire communication, or a user of that service, from fraudulent, unlawful or abusive use of service; or (iii) where the consent of the user of that service has been obtained.

Any person who knowingly violates this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1988, c. 889.

§ 19.2-70.2. Application for and issuance of order for a pen register or trap and trace device; assistance in installation and use.

A. An investigative or law-enforcement officer may make application for an order or an extension of an order authorizing or approving the installation and use of a pen register or a trap and trace device, in writing under oath or equivalent affirmation, to a court of competent jurisdiction. The application shall include:

1. The identity of the officer making the application and the identity of the law-enforcement agency conducting the investigation; and

2. A certification by the applicant that the information likely to be obtained is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by that agency.

The application may include a request that the order require information, facilities and technical assistance necessary to accomplish the installation be furnished.

B. An application for an ex parte order authorizing the installation and use of a pen register or trap and trace device may be filed in the jurisdiction where the ongoing criminal investigation is being conducted; where there is probable cause to believe that an offense was committed, is being committed, or will be committed; or where the person or persons who subscribe to the wire or electronic communication system live, work, or maintain an address or a post office box. For the purposes of an order entered pursuant to this section for the installation and use of a pen register or trap and trace device, such installation shall be deemed to occur in the jurisdiction where the order is entered, regardless of the physical location or the method by which the information is captured or routed to the law-enforcement officer that made the application. Upon application, the court shall enter an ex parte order authorizing the installation and use of a pen register or a trap and trace device if the court finds that the investigative or law-enforcement officer has certified to the court that the information likely to be obtained by such installation and use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.

The order shall specify:

1. The identity, if known, of the person in whose name the telephone line or other facility to which the pen register or trap and trace device is to be attached or applied is listed or to whom the line or other facility is leased;

2. The identity, if known, of the person who is the subject of the criminal investigation;

3. The attributes of the communications to which the order applies, including the number or other identifier and, if known, the location of the telephone line or other facility to which the pen register or trap and trace device is to be attached or applied; and

4. A statement of the offense to which the information likely to be obtained by the pen register or trap and trace device relates.

C. Installation and use of a pen register or a trap and trace device shall be authorized for a period not to exceed 60 days. Extensions of the order may be granted, but only upon application made and order issued in accordance with this section. The period of an extension shall not exceed 60 days.

D. An order authorizing or approving the installation and use of a pen register or a trap and trace device shall direct that:

1. The order and application be sealed until otherwise ordered by the court;

2. Information, facilities and technical assistance necessary to accomplish the installation be furnished if requested in the application; and

3. The person owning or leasing the line or other facility to which the pen register or trap and trace device is attached or applied, or who is obligated by the order to provide assistance to the applicant, not disclose the existence of the pen register or trap and trace device or the existence of the investigation to the listed subscriber, or to any other person, unless or until otherwise ordered by the court.

E. Upon request of an investigative or a law-enforcement officer authorized by the court to install and use a pen register, a provider of wire or electronic communication service, a landlord, custodian or any other person so ordered by the court shall, as soon as practicable, furnish the officer with all information, facilities, and technical assistance necessary to accomplish the installation of the pen register unobtrusively and with a minimum of interference with the services that the person so ordered by the court accords the party with respect to whom the installation and use is to take place.

F. Upon request of an investigative or law-enforcement officer authorized by the court to receive the results of a trap and trace device under this section, a provider of wire or electronic communication service, a landlord, custodian or any other person so ordered by the court shall, as soon as practicable, install the device on the appropriate line and furnish the officer with all additional information, facilities and technical assistance, including installation and operation of the device, unobtrusively and with a minimum of interference with the services that the person so ordered by the court accords the party with respect to whom the installation and use is to take place. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the results of the trap and trace device shall be furnished to the investigative or law-enforcement officer designated by the court at reasonable intervals during regular business hours for the duration of the order. Where the law-enforcement agency implementing an ex parte order under this subsection seeks to do so by installing and using its own pen register or trap and trace device on a packet-switched data network of a provider of electronic communication service to the public, the agency shall ensure that a record will be maintained that will identify (i) any officer or officers who installed the device and any officer or officers who accessed the device to obtain information from the network; (ii) the date and time the device was installed, the date and time the device was uninstalled, and the date, time, and duration of each time the device is accessed to obtain information; (iii) the configuration of the device at the time of its installation and any subsequent modification thereof; and (iv) any information that has been collected by the device. To the extent that the pen register or trap and trace device can be set automatically to record this information electronically, the record shall be maintained electronically throughout the installation and use of such device. The record maintained hereunder shall be provided ex parte and under seal of the court that entered the ex parte order authorizing the installation and use of the device within 30 days after termination of the order, including any extensions thereof.

G. A provider of a wire or electronic communication service, a landlord, custodian or other person who furnishes facilities or technical assistance pursuant to this section shall be reasonably compensated for reasonable and actual expenses incurred in providing such facilities and assistance. The expenses shall be paid out of the criminal fund.

H. When disclosure of real-time location data is not prohibited by federal law, an investigative or law-enforcement officer may obtain a pen register or trap and trace device installation without a court order, in addition to any real-time location data obtained pursuant to subsection E of § 19.2-70.3, in the following circumstances:

1. To respond to a user's call for emergency services;

2. With the informed, affirmative consent of the owner or user of the electronic device concerned if (i) the device is in his possession, (ii) the owner or user knows or believes that the device is in the possession of an employee or agent of the owner or user with the owner's or user's consent, or (iii) the owner or user knows or believes that the device has been taken by a third party without the consent of the owner or user;

3. With the informed, affirmative consent of the legal guardian or next of kin of the owner or user, if reasonably available, if the owner or user is reasonably believed to be deceased, is reported missing, or is unable to be contacted;

4. To locate a child who is reasonably believed to have been abducted or to be missing and endangered; or

5. If the investigative or law-enforcement officer reasonably believes that an emergency involving the immediate danger to a person requires the disclosure, without delay, of pen register and trap and trace data, or real-time location data pursuant to subsection E of § 19.2-70.3, concerning a specific person and that a court order cannot be obtained in time to prevent the identified danger.

No later than three business days after seeking the installation of a pen register or trap and trace device pursuant to this subsection, the investigative or law-enforcement officer seeking the installation shall file with the appropriate court a written statement setting forth the facts giving rise to the emergency and the reasons why the installation of the pen register or trap and trace device was believed to be important in addressing the emergency.

I. No cause of action shall lie in any court against a provider of a wire or electronic communication service, its officers, employees, agents or other specified persons for providing information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with the terms of a court order issued pursuant to this section. Good faith reliance on a court order, a legislative authorization or a statutory authorization is a complete defense against any civil or criminal action based upon a violation of this chapter.

1988, c. 889; 2002, cc. 588, 623; 2005, c. 934; 2016, c. 231; 2018, c. 667.

§ 19.2-70.3. Obtaining records concerning electronic communication service or remote computing service.

A. A provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service, which, for purposes of subdivisions 2, 3, and 4, includes a foreign corporation that provides such services, shall disclose a record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer of such service, excluding the contents of electronic communications and real-time location data, to an investigative or law-enforcement officer only pursuant to:

1. A subpoena issued by a grand jury of a court of the Commonwealth;

2. A search warrant issued by a magistrate, general district court, or circuit court;

3. A court order issued by a circuit court for such disclosure issued as provided in subsection B; or

4. The consent of the subscriber or customer to such disclosure.

B. A court shall issue an order for disclosure under this section only if the investigative or law-enforcement officer shows that there is reason to believe the records or other information sought are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation, or the investigation of any missing child as defined in § 52-32, missing senior adult as defined in § 52-34.4, or an incapacitated person as defined in § 64.2-2000 who meets the definition of a missing senior adult except for the age requirement. Upon issuance of an order for disclosure under this section, the order and any written application or statement of facts may be sealed by the court for 90 days for good cause shown upon application of the attorney for the Commonwealth in an ex parte proceeding. The order and any written application or statement of facts may be sealed for additional 90-day periods for good cause shown upon subsequent application of the attorney for the Commonwealth in an ex parte proceeding. A court issuing an order pursuant to this section, on a motion made promptly by the service provider, may quash or modify the order, if the information or records requested are unusually voluminous in nature or compliance with such order would otherwise cause an undue burden on such provider.

C. Except as provided in subsection D or E, a provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service, including a foreign corporation that provides such services, shall disclose the contents of electronic communications or real-time location data to an investigative or law-enforcement officer only pursuant to a search warrant issued by a magistrate, a juvenile and domestic relations district court, a general district court, or a circuit court, based upon complaint on oath supported by an affidavit as required in § 19.2-54, or judicial officer or court of any of the several states of the United States or its territories, or the District of Columbia when the warrant issued by such officer or such court complies with the provisions of subsection G. In the case of a search warrant directed to a foreign corporation, the affidavit shall state that the complainant believes that the records requested are actually or constructively possessed by a foreign corporation that provides electronic communication service or remote computing service within the Commonwealth of Virginia. If satisfied that probable cause has been established for such belief and as required by Chapter 5 (§ 19.2-52 et seq.), the magistrate, the juvenile and domestic relations district court, the general district court, or the circuit court shall issue a warrant identifying those records to be searched for and commanding the person seeking such warrant to properly serve the warrant upon the foreign corporation. A search warrant for real-time location data shall be issued if the magistrate, the juvenile and domestic relations district court, the general district court, or the circuit court is satisfied that probable cause has been established that the real-time location data sought is relevant to a crime that is being committed or has been committed or that an arrest warrant exists for the person whose real-time location data is sought.

D. A provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service, including a foreign corporation that provides such services, shall disclose a record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer of such service, including real-time location data but excluding the contents of electronic communications, to an investigative or law-enforcement officer pursuant to an administrative subpoena issued pursuant to § 19.2-10.2 concerning a violation of § 18.2-374.1 or 18.2-374.1:1, former § 18.2-374.1:2, or § 18.2-374.3 when the information sought is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.

E. When disclosure of real-time location data is not prohibited by federal law, an investigative or law-enforcement officer may obtain real-time location data without a warrant in the following circumstances:

1. To respond to the user's call for emergency services;

2. With the informed, affirmative consent of the owner or user of the electronic device concerned if (i) the device is in his possession; (ii) the owner or user knows or believes that the device is in the possession of an employee or agent of the owner or user with the owner's or user's consent; or (iii) the owner or user knows or believes that the device has been taken by a third party without the consent of the owner or user;

3. With the informed, affirmative consent of the legal guardian or next of kin of the owner or user, if reasonably available, if the owner or user is reasonably believed to be deceased, is reported missing, or is unable to be contacted;

4. To locate a child who is reasonably believed to have been abducted or to be missing and endangered; or

5. If the investigative or law-enforcement officer reasonably believes that an emergency involving the immediate danger to a person requires the disclosure, without delay, of real-time location data concerning a specific person and that a warrant cannot be obtained in time to prevent the identified danger.

No later than three business days after seeking disclosure of real-time location data pursuant to this subsection, the investigative or law-enforcement officer seeking the information shall file with the appropriate court a written statement setting forth the facts giving rise to the emergency and the facts as to why the person whose real-time location data was sought is believed to be important in addressing the emergency.

F. In order to comply with the requirements of § 19.2-54, any search of the records of a foreign corporation shall be deemed to have been made in the same place wherein the search warrant was issued.

G. A Virginia corporation or other entity that provides electronic communication services or remote computing services to the general public, when properly served with a search warrant and affidavit in support of the warrant, issued by a judicial officer or court of any of the several states of the United States or its territories, or the District of Columbia with jurisdiction over the matter, to produce a record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer of such service, including real-time location data, or the contents of electronic communications, or both, shall produce the record or other information, including real-time location data, or the contents of electronic communications as if that warrant had been issued by a Virginia court. The provisions of this subsection shall only apply to a record or other information, including real-time location data, or contents of electronic communications relating to the commission of a criminal offense that is substantially similar to (i) a violent felony as defined in § 17.1-805, (ii) an act of violence as defined in § 19.2-297.1, (iii) any offense for which registration is required pursuant to § 9.1-902, (iv) computer fraud pursuant to § 18.2-152.3, or (v) identity theft pursuant to § 18.2-186.3. The search warrant shall be enforced and executed in the Commonwealth as if it were a search warrant described in subsection C.

H. The provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service may verify the authenticity of the written reports or records that it discloses pursuant to this section by providing an affidavit from the custodian of those written reports or records or from a person to whom said custodian reports certifying that they are true and complete copies of reports or records and that they are prepared in the regular course of business. When so authenticated, no other evidence of authenticity shall be necessary. The written reports and records, excluding the contents of electronic communications, shall be considered business records for purposes of the business records exception to the hearsay rule.

I. No cause of action shall lie in any court against a provider of a wire or electronic communication service or remote computing service or such provider's officers, employees, agents, or other specified persons for providing information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with the terms of a court order, warrant, administrative subpoena, or subpoena under this section or the provisions of subsection E.

J. A search warrant or administrative subpoena for the disclosure of real-time location data pursuant to this section shall require the provider to provide ongoing disclosure of such data for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 30 days. A court may, for good cause shown, grant one or more extensions, not to exceed 30 days each.

K. An investigative or law-enforcement officer shall not use any device to obtain electronic communications or collect real-time location data from an electronic device without first obtaining a search warrant authorizing the use of the device if, in order to obtain the contents of such electronic communications or such real-time location data from the provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service, such officer would be required to obtain a search warrant pursuant to this section. However, an investigative or law-enforcement officer may use such a device without first obtaining a search warrant under the circumstances set forth in subsection E. For purposes of subdivision E 5, the investigative or law-enforcement officer using such a device shall be considered to be the possessor of the real-time location data.

L. Upon issuance of any subpoena, search warrant, or order for disclosure issued under this section, upon written certification by the attorney for the Commonwealth that there is a reason to believe that the victim is under the age of 18 and that notification or disclosure of the existence of the subpoena, search warrant, or order will endanger the life or physical safety of an individual, or lead to flight from prosecution, the destruction of or tampering with evidence, the intimidation of potential witnesses, or otherwise seriously jeopardize an investigation, the court may in an ex parte proceeding order a provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service not to disclose for a period of 90 days the existence of the subpoena, search warrant, or order and written application or statement of facts to another person, other than an attorney to obtain legal advice. The nondisclosure order may be renewed for additional 90-day periods for good cause shown upon subsequent application of the attorney for the Commonwealth in an ex parte proceeding. A court issuing an order for disclosure pursuant to this section, on a motion made promptly by the service provider, may quash or modify the order if the information or records requested are unusually voluminous in nature or compliance with such order would otherwise cause an undue burden on such provider.

M. For the purposes of this section:

"Electronic device" means a device that enables access to, or use of, an electronic communication service, remote computing service, or location information service, including a global positioning service or other mapping, locational, or directional information service.

"Foreign corporation" means any corporation or other entity, whose primary place of business is located outside of the boundaries of the Commonwealth, that makes a contract or engages in a terms of service agreement with a resident of the Commonwealth to be performed in whole or in part by either party in the Commonwealth, or a corporation that has been issued a certificate of authority pursuant to § 13.1-759 to transact business in the Commonwealth. The making of the contract or terms of service agreement or the issuance of a certificate of authority shall be considered to be the agreement of the foreign corporation or entity that a search warrant or subpoena, which has been properly served on it, has the same legal force and effect as if served personally within the Commonwealth.

"Properly served" means delivery of a search warrant or subpoena by hand, by United States mail, by commercial delivery service, by facsimile or by any other manner to any officer of a corporation or its general manager in the Commonwealth, to any natural person designated by it as agent for the service of process, or if such corporation has designated a corporate agent, to any person named in the latest annual report filed pursuant to § 13.1-775.

"Real-time location data" means any data or information concerning the current location of an electronic device that, in whole or in part, is generated, derived from, or obtained by the operation of the device.

1988, c. 889; 2009, c. 378; 2010, cc. 319, 473, 582, 720, 721; 2011, c. 392; 2014, c. 388; 2015, cc. 43, 634; 2016, cc. 549, 576, 616; 2018, c. 667.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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