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Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. §§2510 et seq.


Title III is the federal wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping statute. Title III permits federal and state law enforcement officers to use wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping under strict limitations.

The federal and state courts may issue interception orders upon applications approved by senior Justice Department or state prosecutors. The applications must demonstrate probable cause to believe that the proposed interceptions will result in the capture of evidence of one or more of statutorily-designated crimes. The orders are crafted to minimize the capture of innocent conversations. Officers may share information secured under the orders with other law enforcement or with intelligence officials in connection with the performance of their official duties.

Senior Justice Department and state prosecutors may authorize emergency interceptions for 48 hours while an application for a court order is being prepared and presented. Unless postponed by the court for cause, the targets and anyone whose conversations have been captured are entitled to notification within 90 days of the expiration of the order.

There are criminal, civil, and administrative sanctions for illegal interception, and evidence secured through an unlawful interception may be declared inadmissible in subsequent judicial or administrative proceedings.