During a divorce, or in contemplating a divorce, often one spouse will spy on the other spouse. This spying may take place by hacking into your email account, installing a GPS tracker on your vehicle, or intercepting your text messages. While this may seem tempting when instances of infidelity are suspected, there may be serious criminal and civil consequences for taking such actions.
Criminal Penalties for Spying on Your Spouse
Certain types of spying, such as hacking into your spouse’s email account and reading stored communications, are violations of state and federal law. If, for example, your spouse is found guilty of violating the Federal Wiretapping Act, a judge can order your spouse to stop the illegal acts, fine your spouse for the violations, or sentence your spouse to prison. Additionally, under the North Carolina Electronic Surveillance Act, your spouse may be convicted of a felony. Damages in those cases may be in the form of actual damages (up to $1000.00), punitive damages (to punish your spouse), and an award of attorney fees.
Civil Penalties for Spying on Your Spouse
In North Carolina, if your spouse has been spying on you, you may file a civil action for invasion of privacy. North Carolina case law has defined such a tort as follows: “One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.” Invading another’s privacy may occur if your spouse has wiretapped you or unlawfully gained access to your email, placed video cameras or otherwise spied on you in a place where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, gained unauthorized access to your bank accounts, and opened your personal mail.
If you would like to speak with a domestic attorney in regards to spousal spying or invasion of privacy, contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law is located in Huntersville, and primarily serves Mecklenburg County and the Lake Norman area.