Advancement in technology has made it easy to record telephone, cellular phone and in person conversations. Recorded conversations can be extremely important in proving your account of a conversation. Also, recording can definitely help in busting a dishonest employee or cheating spouse. However, it is important to know the legal consequences of recording any conversation.
Recording telephone conversations are govern by both federal and state laws and compliance with both is required to be legal. Federal law states that a telephone conversation can be recorded it one party to the conversation has knowledge and consent to the recording. That means a person can record his/her own conversation because that person is a party to the conversation.
All states have laws regarding recording telephone conversations that must also be adhered to.Thirty-seven states follow the same basic prinples as the federal law, which require the knowlege and consent of one of the parties to the conversation. About twelve states require that all parties to a conversation mus have knowlege of the recording.
In every state law enforcement officials may tap or record telephone lines only after showing “probable cause” of unlawful activity and obtaining a court order. This activity must involve certain specified violations. The court order must limit the surveillance to communications related to the unlawful activity and to a specific period of time, usually 30 days. This can be done without the knowledge and consent of any party.
Before you record any conversation it is important that you adhere to both federal and state laws. Failure to follow the laws carries both criminal and civil penalties. If one party to a telephone conversation is in one state and the other party is in another state, which law governs? These questions must be answered before recording any conversation.