Do you know if it is legal in your State to record a conversation with another person?

We often receive requests from clients who are looking to have conversations recorded. Depending on your State and the reason to seek a recording, it may or may not be legal.

Firstly, you must always have a legitimate reason. If you suspect that your employee has opened up a business similar to yours and is attempting to steal your clients, that could be classed as a legitimate reason for wanting to obtain evidence.

Family Law/Domestic cases are another legitimate example. Keep in mind however, that States’ Laws are generally divided into two categories; One Party consent and Two Party consent. One party consent means that one of the parties must agree to the conversation being taped.

If you live in Virginia or D.C. (for a list of laws for all States and the District of Columbia, click HERE), you can tape a conversation that you have with somebody else, since they are “One Party” States and you are the person giving your consent.

If you live in a “Two Party” State, such as Maryland, you will need the consent of both/all parties involved in the conversation. It is therefore just about impossible to record a conversation in these types of States without the other person agreeing to the recording.

As you can see form the provided list,even in States which prohibit covert voice recording, it is still possible to tape a conversation in a public place. This means that if a private investigator could strategically place himself near a table in a restaurant where that aforementioned employee or significant other were having a clandestine meeeting, he could tape whatever they discussed.

The reason for this is, a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place. If they are that concerned, they should either speak in a manner that can not be overheard, or take their meeting to someplace private.

This is for those potential clients who call and ask if their home phone can be tapped as they suspect their husband or wife is speaking with their paramour – NO, it can not. There is a Federal law prohibiting wire tapping. Even in a one party State, one party must give their consent. If your husband is whispering “sweet nothings” in his mistress’ ear, I can guarantee you that he will not give you permission to tape that.

There is a laways a solution however and conducting discreet, covert surveillance by a trained professional will provide most clients with the evidence they need.

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