2007 Federal Sentencing Guidelines



§2H3.1. Interception of Communications; Eavesdropping; Disclosure of Certain Private or Protected Information

(a) Base Offense Level (Apply the greater):

(1) 9; or

(2) 6, if the offense of conviction has a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of one year or less but more than six months.

(b) Specific Offense Characteristic

(1) If (A) the defendant is convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 1039(d) or (e); or (B) the purpose of the offense was to obtain direct or indirect commercial advantage or economic gain, increase by 3 levels.

(c) Cross Reference

(1) If the purpose of the offense was to facilitate another offense, apply the guideline applicable to an attempt to commit that other offense, if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.


Statutory Provisions: 8 U.S.C. § 1375a(d)(3)(C), (d)(5)(B); 18 U.S.C. §§ 1039, 1905, 2511; 26 U.S.C. §§ 7213(a)(1)-(3), (a)(5), (d), 7213A, 7216; 42 U.S.C. §§ 16962, 16984; 47 U.S.C. § 605. For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).

Application Notes:

1. Satellite Cable Transmissions.— If the offense involved interception of satellite cable transmissions for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain (including avoiding payment of fees), apply §2B5.3 (Criminal Infringement of Copyright) rather than this guideline.

2. Imposition of Sentence for 18 U.S.C. § 1039(d) and (e).—Subsections 1039(d) and (e) of title 18, United States Code, require a term of imprisonment of not more than 5 years to be imposed in addition to any sentence imposed for a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1039(a), (b), or (c). In order to comply with the statute, the court should determine the appropriate "total punishment" and divide the sentence on the judgment form between the sentence attributable to the conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1039(d) or (e) and the sentence attributable to the conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1039(a), (b), or (c), specifying the number of months to be served for the conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1039(d) or (e). For example, if the applicable adjusted guideline range is 15-21 months and the court determines a "total punishment" of 21 months is appropriate, a sentence of 9 months for conduct under 18 U.S.C. § 1039(a) plus 12 months for 18 U.S.C. § 1039(d) conduct would achieve the "total punishment" in a manner that satisfies the statutory requirement.

3. Upward Departure.—There may be cases in which the offense level determined under this guideline substantially understates the seriousness of the offense. In such a case, an upward departure may be warranted. The following are examples of cases in which an upward departure may be warranted:

(i) The offense involved confidential phone records information or tax return information of a substantial number of individuals.

(ii) The offense caused or risked substantial non-monetary harm (e.g. physical harm, psychological harm, or severe emotional trauma, or resulted in a substantial invasion of privacy interest) to individuals whose private or protected information was obtained.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 169); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 628); May 1, 2007 (see Appendix C, amendment 697); November 1, 2007 (see Appendix C, amendment 708) .