Have you ever listened to the radio on your way to work? Had your own personal jam session in the car (which everyone in the cars around you probably enjoyed just as much as you did!), or tuned in for a morning talk show? Sure you have. Loads of people enjoy morning radio shows, and why not? Great music, funny anecdotes, celebrity news updates… and apparently terrible legal advice!
On the way into the office recently, one of our family law attorneys tuned in to a local Lansing radio station, to hear a listener explaining to the DJ why she thinks her boyfriend is cheating on her. She labored through a story about having confronted him for going out in the middle of the night for no discernible reason, and recounted his dubious explanations for where he’s been and why (something about a new shirt and a latte).
But it wasn’t the woman’s story that made waves for us. It was the DJ’s advice to his heartbroken listener we couldn’t believe…
“Check his gmail and call back – let us know what you find.”
Okay, hold the reins for a minute. Did he seriously just tell her to go into her partner’s email account, without his express permission, and read his emails in the hopes of determining his fidelity? Whoa whoa whoa! Hold your horses, folks! Don’t you know? THAT’S ILLEGAL IN MICHIGAN!
Yes, we know, it sounds crazy. After all, people do it all the time in movies and TV shows. And how else are you supposed to figure out what your significant other is hiding from you if you can’t take a sneak peak through their emails and read all their texts, right? Wrong!
Reading someone else’s private correspondence, whether it’s their emails, text messages, private messenger, social media interactions, or any other type of private correspondence (including snail mail!) is against the law. And not the “it’s probably okay as long as I don’t get caught” kind of illegal. We mean the “super, duper, going to jail and paying a bunch of fines” kind of illegal.
No joke guys, this stuff is serious as a heart attack! In fact, people here in Michigan have been prosecuted for it before, and they’ve ended up owing a lot of money in fines and fees, and had to spend time behind bars. The most recent case was in Wayne County, but that could change at any time. And if that poor radio show listener takes the morning DJ’s advice, we could be looking at another case right here in Lansing.
So if you take anything away from this at all, it should be this:
- Don’t, under any circumstances, read emails, texts, SMS messages, or any other private correspondence that you don’t have prior permission to be nosing around in, and
- Don’t take legal advice from DJs and radio talk show hosts. They’re not lawyers, and when it comes to legal matters, if they give you crappy advice and you follow it, it’s you that ends up in the slammer, not them!
But if you’ve already made a mistake, and didn’t realize you were breaking the law in an effort to figure out if you need a marriage counselor or a divorce attorney, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled and experienced family law attorneys can help you, no matter how complicated or hopeless your situation may seem.