Is It Illegal To Record Someone’s Phone Call Without Consent

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Is It Illegal To Record Someone - Can You Record Someone Without Their Consent - Is It Legal To Record A Phone Call

Is it illegal to record someone’s phone call or conversation in your state? 

This article is going to cover:

  • whether it’s illegal to record someone without consent
  • when is it legal to record someone’s phone calls
  • which states you don’t need consent to record someone
  • which states it is illegal to record someone without consent
  • whether you can get sued for recording someone without consent
  • each state’s recording laws
  • can you record someone without them knowing and use it against them in court

Let’s dig in. 

If you are using this information for your own research, feel free to link back to this article as your source.

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Is It Illegal To Record Someone?

Whether it’s illegal to record someone’s phone calls depends on your state laws.

In a one-party state, you can record someone without their consent.

But this is only true if you are a part of the private conversation.

It’s also not illegal to record someone who is out in a public setting in most cases.

There has to be a reasonable expectation of privacy for you to need consent.

Again, this legality is state-dependent.

But, “reasonable expectation of privacy” usually means if they are on private property.

Or, they are talking to someone on a device (FaceTime or cell phone).

But, let’s say your state is a two-party state.

In this case, you have to get permission to record conversations from everyone.

Even in most two-party states, people can get recorded in a public place without consent.

This is because they lose the expectation of privacy if they are out in public.

“Out in public” means locations like a coffee shop, the mall, the store, the park, etc.

And in this case, wiretapping laws do not consider illegal recording.

Is It Legal To Record A Phone Call?

Under Federal Laws, it is not illegal to record a phone call that you are a part of.

(Also known as the Federal Wiretap Act.)

You have to be a part of the phone call to record the conversation.

This is because Federal Law is one-party consent.

When you record a telephone call that you’re a part of, you are consenting to the recording.

For one-party consent states, you don’t need anyone else’s permission to record a phone call.

But, in two-party consent states, you have to get EVERYONE’s permission to record the call.

You cannot record a phone call without the consent of all parties in these states.

Even if the Federal Laws are one-party consent.

Because it is still illegal to record a telephone call.

Federal Wiretap Act (Wiretapping Laws)

The Federal Government and the US States separately have their own wiretapping laws.

Under the Federal Wiretap Act, it’s illegal to make a secret recording:

  • of in-person conversations
  • phone calls
  • FaceTimes
  • electronic communications (i.e., emails, DMs, etc.)

Every state has its own set of penal codes that determine punishments.

The penal code states that punishments range from misdemeanors up to felonies.

Along with some fines and potential jail time.

For eavesdropping and making audio recordings without consent.

The penal code legalities protect private communications from getting recorded.

You’ll need a criminal defense lawyer if you get busted for eavesdropping.

And for breaking criminal laws for the recording of conversations.

Is Recording Someone Illegal?

Whether recording someone is deemed an illegal recording depends on the scenario.

If that person had a reasonable expectation of privacy, then yes it’s an illegal recording.

And it’s considered an invasion of privacy for that party.

But, if they were out in public, then it’s legal to record people.

Recording someone is legal in situations like:

  • being in a public place like a park
  • all parties in a private setting consent
  • the recorder has a warrant or other permission to record you
  • you’re at work using work devices

Is It Illegal To Record A FaceTime Call?

Recording a FaceTime call is the same as recording regular calls on a cell phone.

Recording a FaceTime call is legal if you have permission.

The permissions you need to record FaceTime depend on the state you’re recording in.

If you’re in a one-party consent state, you don’t need anyone else’s but your own permission.

If you’re in a two-party consent state, everyone has to consent to record the FaceTime call.

Can You Record Someone Without Their Consent?

Yes, you can record someone without their consent. 

Let’s talk about:

  • is it illegal to record someone without consent?
  • can you record a conversation without consent?
  • do you need permission to record someone? 

Is It Illegal To Record Someone Without Consent

Recording someone without consent pertains to video and audio recordings.

If it’s a private conversation, you need to have permission from at least one person in the group.

(That person can be you if you’re in the phone conversation.)

If you’re in a two-party consent state, all parties in the convo need to give consent.

Recording someone without consent is a crime.

In any state, recording without permission is a misdemeanor or a felony.

And the person who you are recording without permission can sue you.

Can You Record A Conversation Without Consent?

If you’re in a one-party consent state, you can record a phone conversation without consent.

The only caveat is that you have to be a part of that conversation.

Interception, and recording, of private conversations is illegal.

That way, you meet the requirements of having the consent of one person in the conversation.

In a two-party state, you cannot record a conversation without consent.

You have to have consent from everyone you are recording.

Do You Need Permission To Record Someone?

You do not need permission to record someone if you’re out in public.

You only need permission to record someone if they can reasonably expect privacy.

Being in public is not deemed as a private setting.

But “out in public” doesn’t mean they are in their driveway, in their car, out on their porch, etc.

It means they are at a park, on the street, in the store, in the mall, at a restaurant, etc.

These are not private locations and it’s not an invasion of privacy (or trespassing).

And, if you record someone in a public setting, you do not need permission.

This is true whether it’s an audio or video recording.

Is It Illegal To Record Someone Without Their Knowledge?

It is legal to record someone without their knowledge in a one-party consent state.

You are free to record anyone as long as you are a part of the conversation. 

In a two-party consent state, it is not legal to record someone without their knowledge.

It is illegal to record any conversation without every party’s consent. 

Can I Record A Phone Call?

Yes, you can record a call.

But you have to make sure that you meet your state’s requirements.

These requirements are the recording laws or wiretapping laws.

(You can find out your state’s recording laws below.)

Some states need all parties involved in the call to consent to the recording.

While others only need the person recording the call to consent.

If you record a call without proper consent, these are criminal charges.

These charges range from misdemeanors to felonies.

And you can be responsible for paying fines or jail time.

Let’s say you are found guilty of making secret recordings without consent.

You’d face criminal charges and need to hire a criminal defense attorney.

You may also face a civil lawsuit and need a litigation attorney for legal advice.

Can Someone Record You Without Your Permission?

What happens if you find out if someone has recorded you?

Can someone record you without your permission?

It depends on whether you live in a one-party or two-party consent state.

In one-party consent states, people can record you without your permission.

But, not in two-party consent states.

In two-party consent states, everyone has to consent to the recording.

If someone illegally records you, it can be a misdemeanor or felony.

It depends on the wiretapping laws in your state.

What To Do If Someone Recorded Me Without My Consent

Let’s say that someone records you without your consent.

What are you able to do?

You have to determine if you:

  • had a reasonable expectation of privacy
  • you are in a one-party or two-party consent state

You can sue someone for recording you in a conversation.

But only if you perceived the conversation to be private.

And you did not consent to it (in a two-party state).

You can also report them to the authorities.

Illegally recording people is a crime that ranges from a misdemeanor to felonies.

That person can also get fines and jail time for recording people without consent.

Can I Sue Someone For Recording Me Without My Permission?

You are able to sue someone for recording you without your permission.

People recording without consent are subject to:

  • criminal charges
  • civil lawsuits

But, you have to be aware of the scenario in which someone was recording you.

You can only sue someone if there was a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Under Federal Law, you have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in your home.

This means that you cannot sue someone who was recording you out in public.

While you’re in public, there is not a reasonable expectation of privacy.

There are also exceptions to this as well.

You should consult an attorney when figuring out if you can sue someone for recording you.

You may be able to sue someone for recording you if:

  • you are suing law enforcement for not having a warrant
  • someone recorded you on private property
  • someone is stalking or spying on you
  • someone recorded you in locker rooms or doctors’ offices
  • someone was eavesdropping with a recording device (including police officers)
  • you can reasonably expect the conversation to be private
  • someone is intercepting any of your electronic communications

Can You Record Someone Without Their Knowledge And Use It In Court?

Can someone record you without your permission and then use it against you in court?

It’s a valid question.

The person recording you still has to follow the state’s recording laws.

If you’re in a two-party consent state, everyone in the conversation has to give permission.

In a one-party consent state, you can record someone without their permission.

So, yes, you can record someone without their permission and use it against them in court.

But, not in a two-party consent state.

And the question is, “If it’s evidence of a crime, why wouldn’t the judge use it against you?”

Evidence that is not legally obtained cannot get submitted to the courts as evidence.

So, the judge cannot use it if it doesn’t meet the recording laws.

One-Party Consent States vs Two-Party Consent States

There are situations where you may want to record a conversation.

There are many reasons to record a call or conversation with someone, including:

  • interviewing someone for a podcast
  • going over detailed explanations of a topic
  • recording someone for social media videos
  • recording calls with co-workers
  • taping conversations with bill collectors
  • collecting evidence against someone who has wronged you
  • The list of reasons to record a conversation with someone is endless.

But there are legal issues around recording of conversations with someone.

This is true no matter what the situation is.

You could be on a call disputing something.

Or you could be in your home with your family.

Some states are two-party consent states.

This means ALL parties involved in the recorded conversation have to consent.

The other states are one-party consent states.

Per these recording laws, only one party has to consent to the audio recording.

Usually, this is the person who is doing the recording.

In one-party consent states, you can record people without their consent.

But, be aware of wiretapping laws for these states.

For you to not get permission, you have to be in the conversation.

You cannot record others’ conversations without permission from anyone in the group.

Meaning that you can’t leave a recording device in another room and record.

Unless you have one person’s permission to record who is in that conversation.

Let’s look at which states are one-party consent states.

And which ones are two-party consent states.

One-Party Consent States

One Party Consent States - Is Florida A One Party Consent State - Is California A One Party Consent State

These are the one-party consent states.

They only need one party to consent for recording conversations on a recording device. 

AlabamaKentuckyOhio
AlaskaLouisianaOklahoma
ArizonaMaineRhode Island
ArkansasMinnesotaSouth Carolina
ColoradoMississippiSouth Dakota
District of ColumbiaMissouriTennessee
GeorgiaNebraskaTexas
HawaiiNew JerseyUtah
IdahoNew MexicoVirginia
IndianaNew YorkWest Virginia
IowaNorth CarolinaWisconsin
KansasNorth DakotaWyoming

What Is One-Party Consent?

One-party consent means that you can record conversations they are a part of without getting consent.

For one-party consent, only one person in the conversation needs to consent to recording.

Usually, the person who is recording is a part of the conversation.

And they are giving their own consent to the recordings.

They can record the conversation with you without your consent.

Two-Party Consent States

These are the two-party consent states.

They need ALL parties to consent for recording conversations on a recording device. 

CaliforniaMarylandNew Hampshire
ConnecticutMassachusettsOregon
DelawareMichiganPennsylvania
FloridaMontanaVermont
IllinoisNevadaWashington

What Is Two-Party Consent?

Two-party consent means that everyone in the conversation has to consent to get recorded.

Meaning that if one person doesn’t consent, you are not allowed to record the conversation.

Even if there are more than two people, all parties must consent.

Two-party consent does not mean that only two people have to consent.

It means that all parties must consent to get recorded.

This prevents you from recording someone without their knowledge.

Call Recording Laws By State

Let’s talk about some state laws about recording conversations. 

California Recording Laws

California is not a one-party consent state.

California is a two-party consent state.

Meaning you have to get consent from all parties to record a conversation in California. 

Recording laws make it illegal to record a phone call in California without consent.

Let’s say you record a phone call without consent in California.

This is a crime punishable by fines or imprisonment.

A confidential conversation is one that all parties think no one is recording.

This is how the Supreme Court defines confidentiality for recording laws in California.

Texas Recording Laws

Texas is a one-party consent state. 

Texas recording laws state that it’s a felony to record someone without consent.

It is illegal to record someone without their consent in Texas.

Let’s say you record conversations on a phone call in Texas.

Texas recording laws define this as wiretapping.

And wiretapping laws make it illegal to record someone.

Whether that’s in person or on the phone.

It’s illegal to record phone calls in Texas when you don’t get consent to record someone.

Because they have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Florida Recording Laws

Florida is not a one-party consent state. 

Florida is a two-party consent state. 

Per Florida recording laws, it’s illegal to record phone calls without everyone’s consent.

Recording someone in Florida can be a misdemeanor or a 3rd-degree felony.

It depends on the offender’s intent behind recording without the other person knowing.

This is true no matter what types of recordings you have.

Or who you recording, including family members.

Washington State Recording Laws

Washington is not a one-party consent state. 

Washington is a two-party consent state. 

Washing state recording laws need everyone’s consent to record someone.

This applies to in-person conversations and phone conversations.

To record someone, you have to announce that you are recording the conversation.

And you have to get consent from everyone to record the conversation.

Recording someone without consent in Washington State is a gross misdemeanor.

North Carolina Recording Laws

North Carolina is a one-party consent state. 

North Carolina recording laws state that only one party needs to consent.

Meaning that not everyone in the conversation needs to consent to recordings.

But, if one person doesn’t have consent, it’s a felony.

Virginia Recording Laws

Virginia is not a two-party consent state.

Virginia is a two-party consent state. 

Virginia recording laws allow you to record people without consent.

As long as you are consenting to the recording, you can record them.

But, if no one gives consent, it’s a felony in Virginia.

For example, you cannot record a conversation you’re not a part of.

That is unless one person in that group consents.

Maryland Recording Laws

Maryland is not a one-party consent state. 

Maryland is a two-party consent state. 

Maryland recording laws make you get consent from all parties to record conversations.

There’s a grey area for whether it’s illegal to record someone without consent.

The “grey area” is that the other party has to have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Indiana Recording Laws

Indiana is not a two-party consent state. 

Indiana is a one-party consent state. 

Indiana recording laws allow you to record conversations without consent.

As long as you are hitting “record” and you’re a part of the conversation.

If it’s you recording conversations, then you don’t need permission from everyone.

If you don’t get consent from at least one person, it’s a crime in Indiana.

Recording without consent from one party is a felony.

Felonies for recording without consent incur fines or imprisonment.

Wiretapping in Indiana recording laws does not address in-person conversations.

New York Recording Laws

New York is not a two-party consent state. 

New York is a one-party consent state. 

New York recording laws allow you to record conversations with one person consenting.

That person can be you if you’re the one recording.

Meaning you can record someone without their knowledge.

But, you cannot record a conversation that you are not a part of without consent.

Doing so is punishable by felony charges under New York recording laws.

Arizona Recording Laws

Arizona is a one-party consent state. 

Arizona recording laws state that at least one person in the conversation has to consent.

You cannot record a conversation without at least one person’s permission.

This person can be you if you are recording the conversation.

If you’re recording the conversation, you only need your own permission.

But if you are not involved in the conversation, one person needs to give consent in Arizona

Without one party giving consent, it’s a felony charge for illegally recording conversations.

Colorado Recording Laws

Colorado is not a two-party consent state.

Colorado is a one-party consent state.

Meaning that it’s a misdemeanor or felony to record someone without their consent.

It’s a misdemeanor if it’s an in-person conversation.

And it’s a felony to record a phone conversation without consent.

Reference: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-9-303

Utah Recording Laws

Utah is a one-party consent state.

In Utah, you can record conversations that you are a part of.

Someone, in Utah, can record a conversation that they have with you.

But, you cannot record someone in Utah without consent if you’re not in the conversation.

Recording someone without consent in Utah (in person) is a felony.

Recording someone without consent in Utah (phone conversations) is a misdemeanor.

Nevada Recording Laws

Nevada is a one-party consent state.

In Nevada, you can record conversations that you are a part of.

Someone, in Nevada, can record a conversation that they have with you.

But, you cannot record someone in Nevada without consent if you’re not in the conversation.

Recording phone conversation without consent from all parties in Nevada is a felony.

Conneticut Recording Laws

Per Connecticut recording laws, Connecticut is a one-party sent state.

You can record someone as long as you consent.

And you are a part of the conversation.

But it’s a felony to record a conversation without at least one person’s consent.

So, a very important point here is about Connecticut’s recording laws.

The one-party consent law is only for criminal charges.

There are also civil charges (lawsuits) that you need to be aware of.

In Connecticut, you have to get consent from all parties.

You can get consent in writing or at the beginning of the recording.

Violations can lead to damages, costs, and/or attorney fees in a civil suit.

New Mexico Recording Laws

New Mexico is a one-party consent state.

You don’t need to get consent from everyone to record a conversation.

If you’re in the conversation, you don’t have to get anyone’s consent but your own.

If you’re not a part of the conversation, you need one person’s consent to record them.

Minnesota Recording Laws

Per Minnesota recording laws, Minnesota is a one-party consent state.

You can record a phone conversation or in-person conversation with your own consent.

But only if you’re a part of the conversation.

If you record a conversation without proper consent, you’ll get fined, jail time, or sued.

Michigan Recording Laws

Per Michigan recording laws, Michigan is a two-party consent state.

Meaning all parties involved in a conversation have to consent to a recording.

Violations of Michigan recording laws are felony charges.

And can lead to fines, jail time, and getting sued.

Oregon Recording Laws

Per Oregon recording laws, Oregon is a one-party consent state.

But, this is only for telephone conversations.

If you’re on the phone, you can record the conversation with only your consent.

But, in-person conversations must have all parties consent to the recording.

Illegally recording people in Oregon is a misdemeanor crime.

And it can lead to getting sued for recording someone without permission.

Georgia Recording Laws

Wondering if Georgia is a one-party consent state?

Georgia is a one-party consent state.

Meaning that you can record a conversation you’re a part of without getting consent.

But, you cannot record a conversation you’re not a part of without consent.

Let’s say that you record a conversation without consent that you’re not a part of.

Breaking Georgia’s recording laws lands you with a felony.

Getting a felony for not getting consent means fines and jail time.

District Of Columbia Recording Laws

The District of Columbia is not a two-party consent state.

The District of Columbia is a one-party consent state.

You must get everyone’s consent to record a conversation in the District of Columbia.

But let’s say that you intercept a private communication.

Recording someone without consent leads to misdemeanor charges and fines.

Illinois Recording Laws

Illinois is not a one-party consent state.

Illinois is a two-party consent state.

You must get everyone’s consent to record a conversation in Illinois.

But, there is an exception in Illinois’ eavesdropping statute.

You can record someone in public areas without their consent.

Recording someone without consent leads to felony charges, fines, and imprisonment.

New Hampshire Recording Laws

New Hampshire is not a one-party consent state.

New Hampshire is a two-party consent state.

You must get everyone’s consent to record a conversation in New Hampshire.

But, there is an exception in New Hampshire’s state laws.

Once everyone is aware of the recording, they automatically consent.

Recording someone without consent leads to misdemeanor charges and fines.

Massachusetts Recording Laws

Massachusetts is not a one-party consent state.

Massachusetts is a two-party consent state.

You must get everyone’s consent to record a conversation in Massachusetts.

Illegally recording someone leads to felony charges, fines, and jail time.

Montana Recording Laws

Montana is not a one-party consent state. Montana is a two-party consent state.

You must get everyone’s consent to record a conversation in Montana.

Illegally recording someone leads to felony charges, fines, and jail time in Montana.

Pennsylvania Recording Laws

Pennsylvania is not a one-party consent state.

Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state.

You must get everyone’s consent to record a conversation in Pennsylvania.

Illegally recording someone leads to felony charges, fines, and jail time in Pennsylvania.

According to Pennsylvania recording laws, you can get sued for recording someone without consent.

Over To You

If you are using this information for your own research, feel free to link back to this article as your source.

Thank you in advance.

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