Legalities of Recording Phone Conversations

Recording a phone conversation can be very useful in a number of different situations. You may have trouble remembering some instructions that were given to you by your boss over the phone. You might need to go back and  reference some driving directions that were stated to you. Maybe your situation is a bit more serious and you have an abusive ex who likes to get downright nasty on the phone and you need proof of such for courts. Whatever your reason is for wanting to record your conversation you should know the legalities of it first. You do not want to end up committing a crime because of ignorance of the law. Here is some useful information for you to consider before recording your conversations.

First of all, the laws regarding recording telephone conversations vary from state to state and are based mostly on where the recording party is located. For instance, if you are standing in Florida when you record your conversation and there are laws against such in Florida, then you are committing a crime. 

Secondly, the laws of recording a conversation are set up according to the consent of the individuals involved in the conversation. Each state will be classified as either a one party consent state, a two party consent state, or recording will be illegal altogether. The term “one party consent” means that only the consent of one of the parties involved in the conversation is needed in order for the act to be considered legal. In other words, if you are involved in the conversation and you obviously consent to have it recorded then it is legal for you to record it. In a two party consent state you must notify the other person in the conversation that he or she is going to be recorded and allow that party the opportunity to consent to such or decline. If this is not done and you record the conversation anyway, it is illegal.

Generally, it is unlawful to record any conversations that you are not a party to. Illegally recording a conversation is a serious crime that may be charged as illegal wiretapping. Punishment for such includes fines of up to $250,000 and jail time of up to five years. More information on the specific laws of each state can be found here. Before you record a telephone conversation, just peruse your states laws so that you can be sure. It is better to be safe than sorry.