Monday, January 19, 2004

Recording Phone Call Laws By State

* Major update June 24, 2014
* Content & comment updates


* I have deleted a lot of the redundant and "in article answered" questions. PLEASE READ this entire article (and comments) and do not skim. If you still have a question after reading this reference and ALL comments, I would love to answer your question. Please do not ask questions about face to face or video recording - these laws vary greatly across the country; even within a city.

These laws and the following dialogue pertain ONLY to recording telephone & cellphone conversations - NOT face to face conversations or public or office meetings. You are NOT permitted to record ANYONE (video or voice) without their specific confirmation and written release that they know they are being recorded at any time, in ANY place (even inside your residence or your business) - unless it is a telephone/cellphone conversation - THEN you must also follow each state's laws regarding such. Public EVENTS are the ONLY exception to video or voice recording and fall under fair use laws. <--- Fair use/Public nature does not APPLY to phone recording.

* If a judge will not allow your recording in court and you consider it of case winning relevance - request a new judge - possibly even a new venue. You want a judge who is technology savvy presiding over your case when using telephone/cellphone recordings.

Recording a face to face conversation and trying to combine them with your legal rights to recording telecommunications could result in your case being tossed out on a technicality.

A Reference For Harassing Phone Calls From Debt Collectors


Some things to ask yourself before action ...

1) Was the cell phone a company issued cellphone?

2) Were you on company time or on company property at the time of the recording?

3) Were you damaged by the recording?

4) Did you specifically ask not to be recorded and the phone call he made to you - was it harassing?

If you file for wrongful termination, harassment, etc etc - you may use this as a pendant charge - meaning it will enhance your case.  Rarely can you make a case just out of recording a call. It's usually considered part of a pattern off harassment.

Usually, the only "entity" that can be sued or "punished" by the law is a creditor that records you without your permission.

Remember, there is no such thing as phone call recording PERMISSION or AUTHORIZATION ...

Note that the law is specifically 1 or 2 party NOTIFICATION. No one can deny you the right to record a phone conversation IF you properly notify them and follow the laws within your state.

Recently, I received a phone call from a debt collector. This debt collector refused to listen to me and kept interrupting me ... I started recording the phone call. I asked her "what state she was calling from" ... she refused to tell me (A creditor rules violation) ... I looked on my iPhone - it said Carrolton, Texas. Texas is a one party notification state. Although I did not have to inform her she was being recorded; I did. She stated,
"I do not give you permission to record this conversation."

She could have said, "I don't authorize you to record this conversation." ... and it means the same thing.

My recommendation isn't to argue ... just continue the conversation and continue recording.

Understand a few facts about this conversation and a few very common myths:

1) If you are in a one party state and the other person online is in a one party state - you do not have to inform them they are being recorded. You knowing that you are recording, qualifies as the one party notification. This is not an interpretation of the law. IT IS THE LAW!

2) If you are being recorded, you have the right to record the conversation AS LONG AS you follow the laws of your state.

3) There is no such thing as "permission to record" - continuing a conversation IS a permission granted by the other party. One cannot "authorize" or "de-authorize" you from recording. I feel silly typing that, but if someone who you are in a heated argument with threatens you about permission, it makes it SOUND ominous. Don't let their ignorance of the law intimidate you. If the other party continues the conversation after your notifying them that you are recording - they are granting you the right to record. PERIOD. Again, this is not an interpretation of the law. IT IS THE LAW!

You may have OTHER rights if the other party "claims" you do not have permission to record a phone conversation (Particularly if they are a creditor, law enforcement officer, or attorney*). Many people, especially law enforcement and creditors, PRETEND to know the law regarding recording of phone calls. Often, they THINK phone call recording and face to face recording are the same. It is not. There are specific laws governing each. Phone call recording happens to be very concrete.

Please also know that it is your RIGHT to request (properly & politely) for any recording a company/attorney may have of you and they are required by law to make it available to you. Note that this doesn't mean they are required to make it convenient for you to have the recording. The other party is also not required to give it to you any form that you request. As an example, you cannot request a CD, tape, transcript, or email. It is up to the other party to determine what "form" they will provide the recording. A general rule of thumb is 30 days from a WRITTEN request.

* You may want to request dismissal in court, dismissal of debt collection, and/ or sanctions if a person claims you do not have a right to record. Seek out a good attorney for further instruction.

* If a judge will not allow your recording and you consider it case winning relavance - request a new judge - possibly even a new venue. You want a judge who is technology savvy presiding over your case.

* Feel free to refer anyone to
the reference you are reading for clarification.

* I have worked
very hard to maintain this page and try to respond as promptly as possible to any comment ... please consider clicking on an advertisement to kick a few cents back my way or even better sending me $1 through Paypal - see the right side bar.

* Post your comment or question
AFTER reading all of the comments. I usually will answer your question within a couple hours. I monitor and moderate these comments carefully. I realize it's a lot to read. But if you do, this will answer 99% of all your questions.

* PLEASE understand that this is not a substitute for a good attorney's advice. Many attorneys seem to be using this database on my site. While I spent a long time researching this database, it's well documented and well researched, and I consult with friends and an attorney -

If I'm being harassed by phone, I send a letter to the other party* - notifying them by mail that ALL conversations will be recorded.

* Sending certified with signature confirmation is recommended.

Mr. X,

Due to the nature of our communication, please know that I will be recording all calls to phone number (xxx) XXX-XXXX for reference or possible evidence in court proceedings. This applies to
ALL of our telephone conversations. This may be your ONLY notification.


Philip Smith
* Obtaining a notary seal on such a letter may also be another good step.

I can record ANYTHING I wish - laws may prevent me from using this information, but it is ALWAYS up to a judge to allow ANY evidence as admissible whether obtained illegally or not. That being said ... know that a sneaky attorney could call for a mistrial because you submitted evidence improperly or illegally. Read
ALL of the comments below to see where I have thoroughly discussed this scenario.

To clarify; know that one can record
anything without notification - even in a 2 party state. It is a threat to use or actual use of these recorded conversations to defame, frame, or harass where these laws come in to play.

I make sure I record most of the phone calls I make to verify content here on FixYourThinking ...

I also record most phone calls that relate to my business dealings.

It's very easy for someone to say something and not follow through, or just forget what they said on the phone.

Most newer cell phones can record calls directly into the phone - my Sony Ericssson s710a records it directly as an MP3.

Here are the laws for recording phone calls state by state ... be aware, that most of the time, your phone calls are being recorded - sometimes without your knowledge. Most states are
"one party consent". This means that only one person (even the one who initiates the recording) need know.

One way to avoid these laws entirely is to chat and record through instant message - most IM programs automatically keep a file on your computer. VOIP phone conversations and audio chat ARE NOT governed by these laws! BUT IF YOU HAVE A PHONE NUMBER associated with your VOIP phone (IE A Skype-In/Vonage #) then you must follow the same laws as a normal phone conversation.

Also know that this is a disadvantage of phone call recording websites or "circumvention numbers" - you are ONLY allowed to record calls that you initiate or are a part of or for a number that it has been pre-established that you are being recorded. Just because these "mechanisms for recording" exist doesn't mean they are legal.

A good way to look at this:

• Apple doesn't allow applications in the App Store and AT&T/Verizon/T-Mobile/Sprint do not promote such "circumvention" because it is illegal.

• There ARE applications for the iPhone though if you jailbreak your iPhone.


• Because you own a gun doesn't mean you can shoot and kill a person.

• You can shoot and kill a person. It is against the law.

• You can shoot and kill a person in self defense.

If you are in a two party notification state and you are TOLD you are being recorded; you have no legal rights if you continue your conversation beyond that point. Arguing with the recording party over
the right to record is consent to record; based on laws governing harassment.

It is best to gain confirmation and identification.


"Roger, why can't you support me as my boss"

"As your secretary, I expect more clarification from you so I can do my job."
Extrapolate and adapt those identifiers for your situation.

Court evidence is much more credible with as much proof as you can obtain (even if there is a known person or an admittance by the recorded party that they are who they are). Plus, you can carry the argument further by saying,
"He knows he's my boss and he's putting me in an awkward position." <--- saying that to a jury puts a lot more weight on the recorded conversation and gives you the rare opportunity to interject an opinion about the Defendant. Concerning police assisting in a phone call recording: as long as the other party KNOWS the police is recording the call they can admit the evidence into court. You can try to claim that you were set up - most jurisdictions don't allow police entrapment. MOST police jurisdictions don't know the laws or proper procedure regarding phone conversation recording. You will want to make sure that the call is played in its entirety in a court room for two reasons. 

1) Context of the statement

2) Confusion of the issue - a lengthy call will be lost in translation with a jury.

You may also want to check into your rights as far as police involvement - believe it or not; an individual has more rights to record a call than the local police officers do. The only way this makes a difference is if the nature of the call was terror related or you made a threat to harm a high ranking government official.

Again, make sure that their recording is within context and object to any interpretation as hearsay.

A phone recording made from a out of state phone line or made to an out of state party, has to have the party informed of the recording and his/her consent or the tone on line, every 15 seconds, or a consent in writing before the recording is started.

Just because you have a spoofed telephone number from a different state does not mean you have the rights of that state's phone number. In other words you must always go by your state's laws, but more importantly, the state lawof the person who's call you are recording.

Scenario from a comment:

What charges would be brought up against someone that recorded me? How would I use my right to my privacy in court?

It's what is called a pendant charge.
You must have action or cause to "use" the law. One can't really prosecute solely on the basis of someone recording you - even though it's breaking the law. It can be done but the cost of an attorney or the frustration of representing yourself in a complex law that even most judges don't understand - wouldn't really be worth it.
Are you trying to get custody of a child and need to prove the other spouse isn't trustworthy or is oblivious to the law? Good point to bring up to the judge. 
Are you in a battle with a creditor? They must follow the law to a tee to collect. If they record you without telling you OR use your recorded info for ANYTHING other than the stated purpose (which is usually "quality control") ... Then you MAY have rights to cancel that debt. Remember, no matter how much an attorney will argue to the court, "quality control" is NOT an ambiguous term. Calls, simply stated as "quality control recorded", unless stated that the information may be collected and used against you, is NOT legal to be used against you in court.
Here are the laws state by state:

States Requiring One Party Notification

District Of Columbia
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

States Requiring Two Party Notification

New Hampshire

ONLY times you relinquish consent in a two party state is when:

1) You are a government official and your conversation isn't 100% COMPLETELY government business related.

2) You are using a corporate issued cellphone and it is contractually stated that the calls may be intercepted AND the issuer of the cellphone has allowed a warranted tap

3) You have already agreed to a previous or ongoing tap onto your phone

4) You call a law enforcement officer, judge, or government official

5) You are calling to or being called from an Indian reservation or foreign phone number that does not originate in the USA

The phone call, is in all ways not allowed into evidence, if the
OTHER phone was being tapped and did not include a message that the call was being recorded or if the caller did not say you were being recorded - remember - staying on the phone after someone informs you that you may be recorded IS consent.

Warranted taps ONLY APPLY TO INDIVIDUALS not general phone lines.

The following states have exceptional amounts of case law regarding telecommunications recording - here is a sampling and brief clarification.

A large university library is an excellent resource to research case law - a librarian will be more than happy to help you.


Arizona is a "one-party" state, ARS 13-3005.A(1)(2), and also permits a telephone "subscriber" (the person who orders the phone service and whose name is on the bill) to tape (intercept) calls without being a party to the conversation and without requiring any notification to any parties to the call, ARS 13-3012(5)(c).


Although California is a two-party state, it is legal to record a conversation if you include a beep on the recorder and for the parties to hear. This information is included with California telephone bills:

California prohibits telephone monitoring or recording, including the use of information obtained through interception unless all parties to the conversation consent (California Penal Code Sections 631 & 632). There is no statutory business telephone exception and the relevant case law all but excludes this possibility. California courts have recognized "implied" consent as being sufficient to satisfy the statute where one party has expressly agreed to the taping and the other continues the conversation after having been informed that the call is being recorded. Violation is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. A civil plaintiff may recover the greater of $3,000 or three times the amount of any actual damages sustained.


Connecticut is a two-party consent state. The State Police strictly enforce wiretapping laws.


Illinois is, by statute, a two-party state. However, case law from both the Illinois Supreme Court and various Illinois appellate courts have declared Illinois a one-party state in the case of private citizens (businesses and individuals -
NOT law enforcement). The consensus is that one-party consensual recording is merely "enhanced note-taking" and since some people have total recall without recording, how can the other party have any expectation of privacy to a conversation held with another person.

Illinois requires prior consent of all participants to monitor or record a phone conversation. Ill. Rev. Stat. Ch. 38, Sec. 14-2. There is no specific business telephone exception, but in general courts have found extension telephones do not constitute eavesdropping devices. Criminal penalties for unlawful eavesdropping include up to three years' imprisonment or $10,000 in fines and the civil remedy provides for recovery of actual and punitive damages.

In Illinois; It is illegal in any way to tap into cordless home phones via a scanner or other device.

2012: There have been recent court rulings in Illinois regarding wire taps and recording of police conversations.


In the state of Indiana, it is one party authorization. As far as what is admissible in court it is still being tested per each case individually by the prosecutors office in the county in which the investigation or case was done.


Massachusetts requires consent of all parties unless another exception applies (Massachusetts Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 272, Sec. 99). Telephone equipment, which is furnished to a phone company subscriber and used in the ordinary course of business, is excluded from the definition of unlawful interception devices (Id. at 99(B)(3)). Office intercommunication systems used in the ordinary course of business are similarly exempt (Id. at 99(D)(1)(b)). The criminal penalty is a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both. In civil litigation, an injured party may recover actual and punitive damages as well as costs and fees. It is a separate violation to divulge or use the information garnered through unlawful interception and an additional penalty of up to two years in prison or $5,000 may be imposed on this count.

New York

New York is a one party state, however some courts will not admit an interview with a witness to an event if they were not informed they were being recorded. Judges may use their discretion on a case by case basis.


Pennsylvania requires the consent of all parties. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. Sec. 5704(4) with the following exception: any individual may record a phone conversation without the other party's consent if:

The non-consenting party threatens the life or physical well being of the consenting party, or any member of his/her family.
The non-consenting party commits any criminal action (the statute specifically uses the example of telling the consenting party that they have marijuana they want the consenter to buy, but does state ANY criminal act).

Felony penalties may be imposed for violation of the Pennsylvania statute.


Washington requires the consent of all parties. Some companies manage to work around that by going to the Indian reservations or any federally owned property to make the call - Federal law is a one party consent.


Wisconsin is a 1 party state, but legislators are constantly trying to introduce laws to change it to two-party state. Any evidence gathered by a one-party consensual recording is inadmissible except in murder or drug related cases.

The Wisconsin Statute 885.365 for recorded telephone conversation (1) states "Evidence obtained as the result of the use of voice recording equipment for recording of telephone conversations, by way of interception of a communication or in any other number, shall be totally inadmissible in the court of this state in civil actions, except as provided by 968.28 to 968.37." Exceptions are it the party is informed before the recording is informed at the time that the conversation is being recorded and that any evidence thereby obtained may be used in a court of law or such recording is made through a recorder connector proved by the telecommunications utility as defined in WI Stats 968.28 - 968.37 (which is the stat for court ordered wiretaps) which automatically produces a distinctive recorder tone that is repeated at intervals of approximately 15 seconds. Fire department or law enforcement agencies are exempt as are court ordered wire taps.

This does not allow a person that's not a part of the conversation to record any part of the conversation without the parties to the conversation being informed the 3rd party is recording the conversation.


Electronic Communications Privacy Act. United States Code. Title 18. Crimes & Criminal Procedure. Part I – Crimes. Chapter 119 – Wire & Electronic Communications Interception & Interception Of Oral Communications.

Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press: A Practical Guide To Taping Phone Calls & In-Person Conversations in the 50 States & District Of Columbia

Broadcast of Telephone Conversations, 47 C.F.R. §73.1206 (1989)

P.L. 99-508 ("The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986"), amending 18 U.S.C. § 2510

18 U.S.C. § 2510 - (1999) (Wire & Electronic Communications Interception & Interception of Oral Communications)

FCC Consumer Information Bureau:

“Recording Telephone Conversations”

“Interception & Divulgence Of Radio Communications”

U.S. Department of Justice:

USA Bulletin, September 1997 Vol. 45, No. 5, 6. Electronic Investigative Techniques I, II:



Telephone Tape Recording Law. Ralph Thomas. National Association Of Investigative Specialists.

Dealing with Phone Calls from Debt Creditors Looking for Your Payment

* Even though I've tried to contain the comments to one page and eliminate redundancy - comments have now spilled onto a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th page. Please remember that your question may be answered on another page of comments. (You may have to click on "newer comments" to see them)

Refer to these related Fix Your Thinking articles:

Unmask Anonymous or blocked caller IDs

How Can I Place A Call Anonymously

Also see this wikipedia article:


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Anonymous said...


I live in Indiana. An EX freind of mine who also lives in Indiana, recorded conversations without my knowledge, played the recordings to my family members and NOW there is a BIG fight between us family members.
Is it legal for her to record me without my knowing about it?


fixyourthinking said...

It is perfectly legal in Indiana for anyone to record conversations. It is a 1 party state.

You may want to take the case to an attorney to pursue slander and defamation if the accusations are false.

annon said...

My estranged husband and I both live in a two party state. He told me a few months ago he would be recording all of our conversations. He called me and we got into a heated argument. I was very upset and told him I couldn't go on living if he took our children from me. (We go to court in a month and he is trying to take them across the country) The children were visiting with me at the time and I regret even talking about it where there was a chance they could hear us. The call was lost and I called him back. I continued to cry and said again that I can not go on without my children. It was a very weak moment and I regret the entire conversation. He did record it and is trying to use it in court. If he felt the children were in danger and I was the one that called him back but he did not tell me it was being recorded, is that legal as far as you know?

fixyourthinking said...

Yes ... he is able to record and yes he can use it in court. I don't know which states so I can't research case law for you.

annon said...

Maryland. Why is it legal? Because he told me months ago or because he thought the children were in danger? Thank you for your help even though it wasn't the answer I had hoped for!

fixyourthinking said...

While it's always best for someone who is recording to have multiple plain to see instances where they state they are recording - if they EVER say "from this point forward" - then a court can take that at face value. It is the responsibility of the other party to hang up, not communicate by phone any further, or be brief and calm - essentially holding their tongue.

annon said...

Thank you so much. I do not like your answer because it stinks for me but it is my own fault. Thank you for taking your time to help us!

Anonymous said...

I have read sections 631 and 632 of the California Penal Code. Am I correct in interpreting these sections to mean that if someone in CA calls me in CA, a 2-party state, and does not notify me that I am being recorded, this person then cannot legally use this as evidence against me in a civil matter? The other party is the plaintiff who is attempting to do this, and his actions indicate that he is looking for a way around this law.

Further, what if the call was recorded without my knowing it, and a transcribed record was made from that? I’m assuming by these sections that that is also “fruit of a poisoned tree”, as it were.

Finally, what if my call was on a speakerphone without my being aware of it, and the plaintiff, or a third person were taking shorthand as they listened? Admissible in court, or not?

The reason I ask is because the plaintiff called me at home, demanding that I enter into a contract with him. I agreed, then found out he’d tricked me, so I backed out and refused to speak to him any more. The thing is, I had never spoken to him before he called me, either. I don’t even know him. He found me through a relative.
Anyway, he filed suit claiming breach of contract and that the basis of his phone call to me constitutes an enforceable oral agreement. Except, for some reason, he’s trying to hide from the court that he called me. He keeps putting in his court filings that I left a “voice message” promising to contract with him in this agreement, when, in actuality, I have never contacted him for any reason at all, ever, let alone leave a voice message. He wants the court to believe (and me too, I guess) that I left an answering machine message at his home or office without actually saying that in plain language. He also called my cellphone, and left a message referring to this phone call, to “back up” that other phone call to me that he doesn’t want to admit.

Needless to say, I am a bit confused. What's he up to?

Philip Smith said...

He not only can't record you, but it sounds reasonable that you didn't even give implied consent to RECORD.

I don't know of any contract that is enforceable if a party fails to perform AND there is no physical signature, bond, or warranty set forth.

It sounds like there's a lot of steam being blown here.

Just point to the law. Object to the calls being admitted into evidence.

If this is a jury trial, ask that the judge determine privately in chambers the admissibility of the recordings.

Anonymous said...

There have been no recordings entered into evidence. The plaintiff keeps threatening to bring up a "transcript" during trial of the phone call that "I" made to him. Except, it was he who contacted me. I left no "voice message", but this is what he says has been transcribed.

I think he is bullshitting and admit this into evidence myself. If he tries to bring it up during trial, that would be a violation of 631 and 632, yes? And I can refuse to corroborate any assertions he makes on that basis?

fixyourthinking said...

Yes, it would be a violation.

He cannot transcribe or broadcast for the purpose of "witness" unless you are notified.

Anonymous said...

I have not been so notified in writing, but during our last court appearance (trial won't start until next week sometime)this is when he approached and whispered that "he had a transcript of my voice message". He did not say that it would be brought up at trial, though I am sure that is the message he wanted to send, to intimidate me. But why? He knows I know that there is no recorded message from me.

If he tries to recount this telephone conversation to the jury as a 'face to face', I would have to clarify that this was a private telephone conversation, not a face to face, and therefore not admissible as evidence, correct? The only way I can think of that he might be able to get around this is to somehow get ME to recount the conversation for him, in front of the jury. I am not about to do that, and I believe it is within my legal right to do so.

fixyourthinking said...

All you have to do is object to the evidence/testimony and cite the full statute.

You may want to print out my reference (- comments)

Anonymous said...

Ok, thanks for your answers. But what about his call to my cellphone, leaving a voicemail of his version of our agreement in a long, rambling narrative? That is not protected communication, so couldn't he transcribe that, and read it to the court? I figured that this was some kind of a trick, but I haven't been able to figure out what, if anything, he planned to do with that. Could this be useful to him somehow?

fixyourthinking said...

Your cellphone is your property. If it was just him in the conversation then there is no valid communication.

He's fooling you into thinking there's something there.

Object ... but also know that if it is overruled - the recording may also play to your advantage if you can maintain that this was against your will and that this is the type of character this guy has.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that is the key. This guy is a real piece of work.

Anonymous said...

I live in Washington within the Puyallup Reservation boundaries. My property is not trust land because I'm not a tribal member. Does the one party notification apply to trust land within reservation boundaries, or all land within reservation boundaries?

Also, my neighbor has aimed video cameras at my front door. Isn't this an invasion of privacy?

fixyourthinking said...

None of the telephone recording laws apply to Indian reservations. You may record anything for reference. It's if you use the recording as evidence if it can found legal or not. You may not refer to a recorded conversation. You can only say, "Didn't you say in a phone call on such and such a date...?" You get into hearsay if the other person denies it, but if they respond - great.

This forum deals solely with telephone and cellphone recording - but if the video camera is recording what I could legitimately record if I were driving down your street or from any public vantage point then it's ok. It cannot be pointed at any bedroom or bathroom window. If it is, report it to the police and an attorney ASAP.

Anonymous said...

I am in California. If someone leaves a voicemail on my cellphone, do I have to disclose in court what the person said? If not, what is the legal statute to refuse? Is that voicemail considered my property, or is it the property of the carrier?

fixyourthinking said...

Very good question.

Your voicemail is your property.

They may subpoena it but you can claim you deleted it.

Your carrier cannot divulge this information unless there is suspicion of terrorism.

Anonymous said...

If I delete it, can they find out through the carrier when I deleted it?

Do you know of and CA statutes that show a voicemail on my cell is my property?

fixyourthinking said...

If they subpoena your phone records they could tell when you deleted it


I know that I have to save mine every 15 days on AT&T - messages are kept on servers on cellphones not on the device.

I also know that your number is considered identification. You may want to look up law regarding "identification as real property". Think of it as your drivers license or social security number - wouldn't you consider those numbers "yours"?

ripwave said...

No, actually, I think those numbers belong to DMV and U.S. government who assigned them to me. I'm just borrowing them until I die or move out-of-state.

This person I'm dealing with in court is trying to trap me by saying he has an "audio tape and transcript" of my phone call. He has entered it into evidence with the court, but as far as I know, his evidence has not been certified. I am trying to visualize every situation, scenario and eventuality that I can to figure out what this guy is trying to do.

What if during our private phone conversation, he was recording only himself and has made a transcript from that? Can he read that in court? Isn't that still considered a recorded record of a private phone call? If so, I can move to exclude the evidence.

fixyourthinking said...

He is allowed to make reference to a call, but is not allowed to read from ANY notes or make reference to any recordings. You can object on that basis.

To clarify (and please don't add law here unless cited) your identifying numbers are assigned to you as an American citizen and belong solely to you as an American citizen. They are considered your property. If they can be stolen, then this means they are also, by right, a liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.

If you are acting Pro Se - you may have latitude in asking for a continuance AFTER the judge has thoroughly reviewed the admissibility of this evidence. I would refuse to continue until the judge is 100% sure of the law and case law in your state. Please make reference to this website if you wish.

Anonymous said...

I live in california with my parents and currently have physical custody of my three children. My ex wife lives in arizona,and we are still going through court proceedings and custody hearings. Recently,during a mediation meeting,my ex wife pulled out loads of recoded conversations. some were just of herself asking the kids questions while they were visiting her in arizona(the kids were unaware of this,and they are 9 and 5).The others were of conversations over the phone that have occurred between her(in arizona) and our 13 year old(in california,who was granted temporary rights by arizona courts to refuse visitation with her mother at this time). My daughter is extremely distraught on many levels about this divorce and has not had a good relationship with her mother in these past 6 months. she has recently started having phone conversations with her mother,as urged by the judge and her therapist. she will be extremely upset if she ever finds out her mother has been recording her. Is it legal for my ex to be doing this without letting her know? Does it make a difference that she is a minor?What about recording the younger kids?(whether in person,secretly,in arizona,or via phone conversations while theyre with me in california?) i appreciate any help or advice you could offer me. i am going back to court soon so your help would be greatly appreciated.thank you!

fixyourthinking said...

Sorry to have to deliver bad news ... but parents as long as they go by the 1 party or 2 party notification rules can record their children. If a 2 party state if she EVER notified you or your children it counts as valid notification. She is allowed some leeway in claiming it's still her phone until the divorce is final.

My wife had a similar problem with her ex husband and my step daughter - she thought this stank but these laws have very few loopholes and little is interpreted.

Anonymous said...

I found a phone recorder (plugged into the phone line) hidden under the TV in the Family room. My husband hid it there and has been recording conversations me and my daughter have. We live in a state that is one party consent (I did not give consent) and my daughter (did not consent either) lives in a state that must have two party consent. How do I deal with this? Is this a State issue? Or Federal? Can I sue or press charges?

atlibertytosay said...

He is legally allowed to record you... but you do have a privacy issue ... You would be looking at a state civil
charge of invasion of privacy for planting a bugging device.

Of course you would also need cause ... How is he using this information to harm you?

Anonymous said...

What makes it legal to record me? If its hidden and I did not give consent? Its voice activated so anyone that calls is being recorded.

fixyourthinking said...

It is 100% legal for him to record and even USE yours and his phone conversations - what is not legal is that he is doing by bugging the phone - not actually recording with his OWN knowledge (as he doesn't when it is being activated)

You have an invasion of privacy issue - not a telephone recording issue.

It sounds complex but you do have a VERY good case - just not for recording yours and his conversations.

Jim McGowan said...

Hmm.. Sounds like no party has been notified, as he wasn’t a party to the calls at all. I'm curious as to how that works.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

What is the exact law or code that states the following...

"Please also know that it is your RIGHT to request (properly and politely) for any recording a company/attorney may have of you and they are required by law to make it available to you. Note that this doesn't mean they are required to make it convenient for you to have the recording. The other party is also not required to give it to you any form that you request. As an example, you cannot request a CD, tape, transcript, or email. It is up to the other party to determine what "form" they will provide the recording. A general rule of thumb is 30 days from a WRITTEN request."

Please let me know soon. I have something this applies to happening right now.

Also, if a sales call is recorded without notification in a two party state, can that cause a contract entered into, as a result of the phone call, to be void in any way?

Thank you!

fixyourthinking said...

The law is part of the Federal Electronics Comunication Privacy Act as noted in the footnotes of this article.

You cannot enter into any contract via recorded phone conversation unless A) you have given consent to do so over the phone B) you have been notified in writing that such a phone call will take place. You can enter into a contract if you have continued in conversation after it has EVER been noted to you that you will be recorded.

Note that not every entity has to follow 2 party rules. Indian reservations, foreign countries are exceptions.

Can you explain more of the details ... It'll help me know if I should consult an attorney.

Anonymous said...

Hi Fixyourthinking,

I'm writing in response to your post on 3/5/10 at 6am. I asked the question.

The situation I have is: I entered a contract a couple months back. The sales call was over the phone. After the sales call I spoke to a girl who notified me that that call with her was going to be recorded. I was ok with that and continued the call. Later on I found out that I was misled to believe something about the contract that was not actually part of the contract. I won't get into details. But, when I contacted the company about this they told me that they would check the tape of the sales call which was with a man. I was not notified that that call was going to be recorded at any point. Is that a violation of the law? From what I've read it is. I have requested a copy of the tape through email and have received a 30 second portion of the phone call. Is the company required to give me the full tape? I just want to know what to say to them to get the tape and if this is something that I can sue for. Also, will my case be strong? I was fraudulently induced into the contract and I lost a lot of money. I'm looking into all possible avenues of getting my money back. As the fraudulent inducement would be my word against there's. Also, there was not a direct statement made but more an implication or withholding of vital information in regards to what I was actually buying. Anyways, any info you can give that would help me is MUCH appreciated. I am also consulting a lawyer where I live.

Anonymous said...

One more thing. The attorney I will be consulting, actually, is a contract attorney and may not know the law in regards to phone recording. So, I'm looking around myself to get any info I can. FYI

Thanks again!

fixyourthinking said...

"But, when I contacted the company about this they told me that they would check the tape of the sales call which was with a man. I was not notified that that call was going to be recorded at any point. Is that a violation of the law? "

Once notified - always notified even if its a different person at a company or address.

The laws governing aren't meant for technicalities and very few judges allow loopholes with these laws.

"Is the company required to give me the full tape?"

No, they are required to give you the portion that is in dispute. BUT, for them to not offer the entire conversation is very suspect and indicates hiding something.

Beyond recording laws ... you may want to investigate being able to enter into a contract without a signature. Did you give them your social security number? Some states allow a verbal phone contract to be entered with the divulging of a social security number - most don't. These are just tips. I can't discuss any of that as I'm not up on that branch of law.

Anonymous said...

I live in a two party state (Florida) An exfriend recorded me on a property deal. He lives in a one party state (Ohio). He turned this over to Law enforcement in Florida. I have no problem with that. However I feel that my privacy has been invaded. Was this against any law? Thanks, No matter what your response, I will donate. Don Hawkins said...

Did he call you or did you call him?

You can respond to his complaint with law enforcement by challenging his right to record.

Give this website as a reference.

Word such a "response/grievance" as follows;

Dear ________ police dept handling case # ________ I am sending this letter to you to inform you that ________ _________ has submitted a recorded phone conversation to you. Under Florida law Mr. __________ was unable to record this phone without my express consent. I submit that his "contract by telephone" or any other claim he or any party related to Mr. ________ makes is invalid and cannot be construed as anything other than hearsay as his recording is inadmissable in any criminal or civil case in the state if Florida. Thank you. Please contact me with any questions.

(Link this page)



Anonymous said...

I live in CA a two party consent state. If a person in a one party consent state records my phone calls without my knowledge or consent, Then uses the recordings as evidence in a AZ small claims court. can I sue this person in Ca. for violation of my Ca. rights
penal codes 631 & 632 ?

fixyourthinking said...

It depends really - were you being called or did you call someone?

You always go by the laws of the person who is CALLED TO.

You would actually make a counterclaim in small claims court for punitive damages (that you will have to definitively prove) in the state where the evidence and case was being presented.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I live in a 2 party state (WA). He is in military and on a boat at a port call currently in a 1 party state (AK). Not sure if it matters but we are separated and he has been living on that boat for a few months now. He will only confess to me that he has been having an affair with a subordinate that is he directly in charge of by phone. Can i legally record this phone conversation? If not can i legally record it if i go to an Indian Reservation and do it?


fixyourthinking said...

Where ever he claims residence and where the phone number area code is - those are the laws that apply to him.

As for the Indian Reservation - you must claim residence or be in a business that has occupancy within an Indian reservation for the "exception" to apply to you.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Indian Reservation.. When you say be in a business do you mean i have to work for a business on an Indian Reservation or are you meaning that i have to record the phone call in a business (such as a casino or store)?

And thank you for getting back to me!

fixyourthinking said...

You must be a resident or business OWNER/employee of an Indian reservation AND have a ligitimate reason for recording the call - your personal reason ISN'T legitimate.

You can't skirt the law.

I would inform him he's being recorded - most times - people don't care or don't think about it.

I'd encorage you to read the scenarios posted in the main article.

Anonymous said...

hello, very helpful info. i have a strange case here.wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy.nothing comes close to this.i was bieng blackmailed by my exwifes sister after the divorce,over a sex tape of me and a consenting female of adult age,about copies of the tape sent to all my employees,friends,business associates and family members.i made my ex a very good deal as they used the same tapes as leverage during divorce.the tapes were stolen from my safe by her sister proior to the divorce.the blackmail never stopped after the divorce and they were using a third party to get more money from me.finally the third party agreed to help me as he felt sorry for me .they would call the third party and have him do a three way to contact me,we all were on cell phones.i ,with the third persons approval taped this blackmail by my exwifes sister clearly asking me for more money,admitting recieving money and saying she didnt want to go to jail over blackmail as she has akid to take care of.also saying she would destroy the tape after ipaid her some money.i had this tape transcribed by an this admissable in court or is it up to a judge in illinois?my ex has me in court over some other issue as i refused to give into their was athree way conversation on all cell phones she was not aware of it but me and the other person were.i put my phone on speaker and recorded it into a cassetter recorder, please advice.....

fixyourthinking said...

Illinois is a tricky state but I'd go with admissible.

You are essentially taking issue with a crime and having to interpret a difficult law in order to prevent said crime.

You certainly could plead no contest if you were challenged.

Anonymous said...

what does challenged mean?can she actually press charges for recording her extortion? what ramification would it have on the third person who agreed to the recording? can you please be a little more specific.

fixyourthinking said...

Challenged as in your legal right to record the person.

Illinois has a huge amount of case law and very very poor judges who don't go with precedent ... you have about 50% of the cases saying you cannot record ANY conversation and about 50% of the cases where certain recordings have been allowed in a case as evidence.

You need to admit this evidence into a case NO MATTER WHAT now and let a judge decide on whether it's admissible.

Also, you need to understand that extortion is a federal crime and wiretapping amongst citizens is usually a state matter. Your case against the other party will trump their charge IF they try to "get you" for an illegal recording.

I can't be more specific than what is posted here - I hope it's a help. Again, Illinois law on "telephone recording or tapping" is iffy at best.

Anonymous said...

Great read, thanks for all the info.

I live in the state of Delaware, a two-party state. I have an ex-employer that let me go from my job because of financial problems within the corporation. I had left on good terms, which included the full completion of my severence package which was dependant on my leaving on good terms.

After a few months passed, they discovered that I had an affair with a woman at work, and they are now giving me a bad job reference because of this, even though my work performance was exceptional and I had left on good terms.

I would like to get these bad references on audio tape, as I believe they are unfair and I want to stop them ... I am being punished for this affair while the woman involved remains employed with the same company.

Simple - it's either right or wrong, can't be both! Can't be wrong for me but ok for her! Can't keep me from getting a job while maintaining the employment of the other person involved.

So, when getting someone to call this company for a reference for me, would simply stating, "This call may be monitored for taining purposes and quality control" be ok, or should I word it differently?

Also states that in the state of Delaware, "It is a violation of privacy (both a criminal misdemeanor and civilly actionable) to intercept a telephone conversation without the consent of all parties" Would their not hanging up be enough consent, or will I need the verbal consent of the other party?

Thanks in advance.

fixyourthinking said...

If you say the call may be monitored fir training or quality you are not giving proper notification.


"This call is being recorded."

Do NOT mumble or say it quickly or tack it onto another sentence.

It's best just open with that statement.

Continuing is their consent.

NO one can "authorize" you to record.

Anonymous said...

I live in a one party anonymous phone call was made from a cell phone to a state office. message was left on a voicemail that incriminates a business in a license violation. the business was fined and now in court. can the voicemail be used as evidence in court; revealing the person that made the phone call?

fixyourthinking said...

Yes ... 100%

You may even be able to research with the telephone company and find out the identity of the caller.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I are in a custody case with his ex...She is trying to move the child out of state which we feel strongly against! We now are on our third court case and it is up to us to prove to the judge that she is a liar and a bad influence to the child! - Some time ago, she lied to the child and told him that he was somewhere he was not, then proceeded to put the child on the phone with us to have him repeat the same things that she led him to believe... In other words, she twisted this poor little boys head and influenced him to lie to his father(we really dont think thats okay)... Sooo, what are the laws about a minor being recorded in a all party state and using that as evidence to help our case (he is 4)...The conversation was ONLY between him and his dad? Would that hold up in court?

fixyourthinking said...

Not to be overly technical ... But there is only "1 party" & "2 party" states ... No such thing as "all party".

You must go by the laws in the state of the owners' phones.

The only time the "minor clause" could kick in would be physical or extreme provable emotional or verbal abuse.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Quick question, does the recording notification have to originate from the person making the recording? (i.e. I am calling a call center where the operators know they are being recorded by their own company and I get the recording at the start that says "This call may be monitored or recorded... Blah, blah, blah.") Since both parties are aware of the possibility of recording, do I have to specifically state MY recording to the agent? Thanks!

fixyourthinking said...

Yes ... If YOU are recording you must give notification.

However, you have the right to obtain any recordings made of you by another party through subpoena.

Ann Goody said...

I recently recorded a phone call I made to a person in IL. She freely told me all about how she hired a proxy voting service to win in the Pepsi Refresh contest. This was against the contest guidelines. I gave the info to Pepsi and to the NY Times & Chicago Tribune. Both of whom ran articles about it. She was stripped of her 50K award and now threatens to sue me for recording her without her consent. Il has the 2 party rule however I keep reading that their courts consider IL a 1 party State. In your opinion does she have a claim?

Anonymous said...

i recently had a phone call with the father of my fiance's child. The father throughout the term of me and my fiance's relationship has made it out to look like my fiance is cheating on me with him and she is a bad mother for not allowing for more visitaion with his son. He also makes the statements that my fiance is mentally unstable. Well now the father is going to court for full custody. Like i said at the beginning i had a phone call with him for the first time in a year and a half relationship, I basically agreed with him and said things like "yea she's crazy" , "yea you need more time with your son" , "yea she is a liar" all of which he says about her, i figured i would act like i was on his side so he would maybe talk his self into a trap or spill some information. basically i acted buddy buddy with him on the phone and even though i knew he was lying i agreed with everything he was saying. well that said, i found out our phone call was recorded and since i live in tennessee he didnt need my consent. I was wondering what i should do from here.... if anything.

fixyourthinking said...

By law your call was able to be recorded and used in a court.

I'd say if you told a judge what you wrote here that should be a good explanation though.

Anonymous said...

I believe my past employer is giving my new prospective employers a illegal reference on my past employment(20+yrs)with them when they call them..Can i legally have someone call them and record the conversation.Both state are 1 party states

fixyourthinking said...

Yes you can ... as long as one person in the call knows the recording is being made.

Sarah said...

I have tried to read through most of your information but I still have a question. I am the primary guardian of my beautiful 4 and a half year old son. I live in Massachusetts a 2 party state my sons father lives in Florida a two party state. My sons father has recently resurfaced after being absent for 8 months and a year prior to that due to previous physical and verbal abuse I want to record all phone conversations he has with our son as well as with myself. I notified his father via text that all future phone conversations will be recorded he responded saying he did not consent. Can I still record our conversations? Do I need to notify him again for example at the beginning of every phone call? I will also be sending him a certified letter on Monday. Will these recordings be admissable? What if he calls me? I want to follow the law but I also want to protect myself and my son. Thank you so much for your help.

fixyourthinking said...

There is no such thing as consent.

It is only notice.

Yes, please keep telling him he will be recorded and inform him that he consents to being recorded if he calls.

I would also go further and state that verbally abusive calls or threats over the phone will constitute harassment.

Anonymous said...

I'm a single mom in Jacksonville, FL. I recently lost custody of my 11yr old daughter to her Dad back in Key West where she was born and raised. I have had primary residential custody of her since birth, and her Dad has never shown any interest in her or done anything for her. I made the mistake of allowing her to go with him back in the 1st week of July. My daughter has ADHD and was only supposed to be there for some visitation time about 2 weeks when she went to stating some horrible allegations of abuse against me and my exboyfiend - well he's my ex now. Anyway, a judge down there in Key West, FL granted my child's father custody TEMPORARILY and I have another hearing on Dec 20th, but in the meantime I am allowed to speak to her on the phone at least once a day. Is her dad allowed to have me on the speakerphone and record the conversations I'm having with my child if the judge did not order that...or is what he's doing illegal?

fixyourthinking said...

Sorry to hear you're in the situation you are.

I will apply an analysis of your comment based on the law

1) Are you saying anything that could be used against you? And, is the father of the child using any part of the conversation against you, out of context, with malicious intent ?

2) Cases are always difficult with minors involved as a minor cannot give consent or enter a legal binding contract. Therefore, the father is able to make these decisions for her and would be the one the law will refer to first.

3) Is the father not in the home because of a malicious history?

4) The law is notification, not consent. Unfortunately you are aware if you speak with your daughter by phone that she and the father know she is being recorded and you know you are being recorded.

Now, you may have some leeway if you've never been told you were being recorded, but realize that talking by phone, after being TOLD you are consenting to the recording.

You may also have leeway in Florida since it's a 2 party state that the father may be required to record EVERY conversation if he records one so that nothing could ever be taken out if context and said, "off the record" so to speak.

Further, in many states with 2 party notification it has been argued successfully that you must be TOLD you are being recorded EACH conversation each 24 hour period.

Anonymous said...

In Florida if you tell a police Officer that he is on speakerphone and remind him he is on speakerphone. Is it legal to record what is said without notifying the office of your recording.

fixyourthinking said...

Florida is a two party state … you must be VERY clear that you are recording someone.

They cannot deny you this right.

You can record them.

They must hang up if they don't wish to be recorded.

Telling someone they are on speakerphone is not clear whether or not they are being recorded.

Genigirl said...

Just....thanks! I did visit an advertiser on your site, not that I plan on buying...but thanks, again!

Anonymous said...

I have a CA number ( 2 party), but I working in ga (1party) right now , can my wife in sc (1party) record our conversations without notifing me?

fixyourthinking said...

The law is current location, not phone number.

Consider it this way …

You could go get a phone number from California on a prepaid phone and then go to South Carolina.

Again, your rights from your state don't travel with you.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this is still read but I had a tenant admit via txt that he recorded my phone calls with him and I know he never informed me that he was doing this.

Cant I just inform the police of his admittance to this?

fixyourthinking said...

To clarify ... This forum is maintained regularly.

A person technically only breaks the law when they use the recording ... not when they make it.

Are you in a two party notification state?

Anonymous said...

I am in California.

So I can do nothing about this, unless he attempts to use it as evidence?

So, someone can record any conversation but they can't use it in court is what you are saying unless they informed the other caller that the phone call is being recorded.

fixyourthinking said...

Any law is intent ...

Just because I kill someone doesn't mean I meant to or meant to maliciously.

Recording a phone call is the same.

I can record someone ... It's if I submit that as evidence in a court of law.

I can't submit it, I can't even refer to it's existence.

Think of it as a behind closed doors law.

Also know that continuing a phone call that you know is being recorded (even if not notified) can SOMETIMES be implied consent.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Appreciate the info you provided. Have a good one!

Jim McGowan said...

Does this apply to all states? E.g., I live in Pennsylvania. Am I free to record any call that I make or made to me, as long as I don’t intend or attempt to use it in anyway? (Other than to listen to it myself of course.)?

I thought I had read that Pennsylvania was a bit more restrictive with their recording laws.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I live in Ky and my childs special needs teacher calls her stupid and is mean can I send a recorder with my child to school to get proof of this.

fixyourthinking said...

I'm very sorry to hear about this BUT this forum only applies to telephone calls.

Telephone recording laws are regulated at a state level and partially at a Federal level.

Person to person and videography can vary at a city level.

You should be able to ask your local law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

I live in Tennessee and my daughters father lives in Nevada. We had a verbal agreement that once i got settled here he would allow her to come here. Now he is denying me to take her out of state. I want to be able to record him admitting to the verbal agreement we had and that now he is denying me to take her out of state after we had made that verbal agreement. How do I go about getting him to consent to the call and admit that there was a verbal agreement?

fixyourthinking said...

Both Tennessee & Nevada are one party notification states. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO INFORM HIM he is being recorded.

It's left up to you to be clever to get him to admit he made the agreement. You can then use the recording as evidence in a court.

If he has an ego …

Tell him his father always lived up to agreements - why won't he live up to this one. Or say, ___________ knows you made the agreement - (he/she) says you told ______________ that you'd follow through and you can't even live up to that.

Don't insult him but make him feel bad. Don't draw it out or prompt him. An attorney will quickly see that you are leading him in the recording. It may take several conversations.

One BIG TIP … whatever you do do not lose your cool in a recorded conversation because IN GENERAL a court will not accept soundbites.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you have any thoughts about the following situation? In an adversarial phone conversation, the other party refused to let me record (I'm in an all-party state), and I didn't want to do anything illegal.

So instead, what I did was record ONLY MY SIDE of the call. I held the phone speaker to my ear (non-speaker-phone-mode), sat 3-5 feet away from my laptop microphone (just to be sure), and recorded myself using Audacity. Afterwards, I silenced the places where the other side was speaking (just to be sure), then exported to MP3, destroying all other formats (though I didn't scrub/shred the disk). I'm pretty sure even deep forensics can't retrieve even a single syllable of the other party's speech (though forensics might be able to verify my phone-plus-laptop story, thus proving I had no intention to record the other party).

I can't find explicit case law on this scenario, but insofar as I can tell I've done nothing illegal, under any set of laws. What do you think?


fixyourthinking said...

It is inadmissible and would fall under tampering with evidence. Without verification of the other caller by audio, you could have staged the call and faked the caller ID.

Not being argumentative, just want to be concise ...

There is no such thing as an "all-party state"

There is 2 party notification.

Legally and physically, there's a big difference.

Anonymous said...

Continuing this discussion (I'm the guy who posted the 11/21/11 12:43 PM note):

Thanks for the response, I may not have been as clear as I should have been, so please allow me to clarify.

I don't want to use the recording as evidence in a judicial proceeding. I only want to use it as an "enhanced note-taking technique" (better than pen-and-paper, or stenographer's typewriter), to help me write-up a transcript. Therefore I have no concern about authenticating the other party, or the recording.

So the question is only the act of recording itself is illegal. To be specific, my state is Mass. which has a tricky/controversial laws in this area. (The other party was in Conn., I'm less concerned about that.)

(And, I'm aware of the "two/all-party" terminology dispute, but I was just using what seems to be the term-of-art in Mass.)

fixyourthinking said...

Ah, okay …

Well … you can do what i do. I record most all of my telephone conversations much the same way, as reminders or notes.

You do NOT have to inform the other party if you do not plan to use the recordings for legal claims.

Note that you also cannot use the recordings as reference material FOR ANY purpose in any public setting.

The side affect of this is that you will NEVER be able to use recorded conversations in judicial proceedings because you may have a bias of the law ~ you'd only be able to use the recordings that were TIMESTAPMED and followed the law.

Anonymous said...

Understood about "not using the recordings in judicial proceedings", that was never my intent. My ONLY concern is the legality of what I've done (I want to be squeaky clean), and the problem is I can't find case law (in Mass. or anywhere else) concerning my type of "one-sided self-eavesdropping" case.

But as far as other types of cases go, I don't know why you say "You do NOT have to inform the other party if you do not plan to use the recordings for legal claims." The leading case in in Mass. seems to say otherwise. Commonwealth v. William R. Wright, 61 Mass. App. Ct. 790 (2004);

Anonymous said...

I do need your brain! I have read through your impressive information and the issues others have asked your help with. I understand what is legally needed in WA to make a cell phone recording of call. What I am not finding anywhere, and it is what I need help with--is the wording for the 'you're being recorded' message. Short. To the point. Don't wait for an answer. I understand all of this. But WHAT do I say?

fixyourthinking said...

"This call is recorded."

Anonymous said...

I live in Michigan and I have a dispute over stolen property. The person in question will admit to me over the phone that the property was mine, yet I have no way of proving it in court so I'm not able to take my property back legally.

The curious part for me is the indian reservations. If I were to call from my cell phone from an indian reservation (there are many large ones nearby) and get them to admit that the property was mine, would it be admissible in court?

Also, if I drove to a 1 party state and made my phone call would it be admissible in court, or does it depend on where the court is, not where the phone call happens from?

FixYourThinking said...

Cellphones & home phone #'s are tied to your billing address at an exact 9 digit extended zip code.

You do not obtain laws when entering a new zone or zip code.

You must physically live on the reservation and be exempt from state and federal law.

Casinos, bill collectors, & telemarketers locate on Indian reservations but lease the property from actual American Indian tribesmen.

Anonymous said...

So a judge in hawaii ordered my ex and i to record all conversations that take place when i call my kids. I then moved to ks and she moved to california. Months down the road she asked if i still recorded and i said yes but apparently she does not record anymore. We are fixing to go back to court but it will have to be where she lives in ca. Can i use the recordings that the hawaii judge ordered in ca court?

fixyourthinking said...

Not only should your court order supercede any ordinance, but no matter what the situation ... You both already know that ALL conversations are being recorded. While thus won't be an issue you do need to remember the audible tone clause going forward.

fixyourthinking said...

New readers ... Please remember that while I do this for free ... a PayPal or Amazon donation is always nice!

Anonymous said...

I'm having a problem with this guy that has people listening to our in person conversations via his cell phone without my knowledge. the person on the cell phone is listening to our conversation.

fixyourthinking said...

This is not considered recording.

Their testimony as to what they "heard" would be hearsay.

You also are considered "aware" that this takes place when conversations are held with this person so, in a sense, you have been notified.

But listening in without anyone's consent or knowledge may be considered illegal wiretapping. (However, it sounds like the other party knows people are listening.)

Marc Elaine said...

I have custody of my 5 year old child.....when his father calls - he tells my son about things that the court does not allow......My question is, if I record the call is that considered eavesdropping. Or can I freely record the call because I can grant consent for my minor child in a 1 party notification state?

Rude Awakening

fixyourthinking said...

Yes you can record the conversation. But just to cover your bases ... tell the child you are.

Also, you can only record when you are called if the caller is in a 2 party state.

If you call him ... you must notify him.

Anonymous said...

I live in FL. I know it is a two party state. Two years ago, I entered into a civil agreement with my ex in family court. We share two children and he is abusive. I simply wanted the abuse/threats to stop. As opposed to going through with a restraining order hearing, through his attorney to mine, he offered a deal where both of us would sign. He wasn't admitting guilt but the agreement stated neither party would engage in domestic violence. Also in the agreement, either party could record the other. My attorney had this clause put in because I did, infact, record him prior. I read here you said you can record anyone, it becomes a legal issue if you use it in a way that harms the other person. Over the two years, I didn't record him as his behavior calmed. Little by little, it's back and he was recently arrested for assult/dv. My question is, because of this previous agreement, which has not been modified in anyway or taken off the table, would that mean I could record phone call conversations without saying, "this call may be recorded" and USE IT legally? For criminal cases or civil?

holly said...

I live in Delawar and my uncle is in the process of taking Me to court he told my mother that he has been recording our phone conversations, he never got my consent to record us and he did not tell me he was doing it. Can he use those conversations in court or play them for his lawyer? If he does try to use them can I press charges against him?

fixyourthinking said...

Delaware is a 2 party notification state.

"he never got my consent to record us and he did not tell me he was doing it."

There's no such thing as consent, but he was required to notify you if he plans to use the tapings against you in court.

I'm not giving you a smart alleck answer, but don't give him anything worthy of submitting to a court to begin with.

"Can he use those conversations in court or play them for his lawyer?"

He cannot use them in court, and if he has an ethical attorney, he would refuse to listen to them. That's like saying if he has a shark with manners I realize, but, technically, this is legal bar ethic.

"If he does try to use them can I press charges against him?"

You or your attorney can object on grounds of notification in a two party state to the recordings OR A SUMMARY being submitted into evidence OR EVEN questioning. Use this reference in court if need be.

Anonymous said...

I recently had a quite unpleasant phone conversation with someone and at some point when she started to be rude I told her to "say that again, I am recording this". Now she is threatening to sue me because I didn't say I record from the beginning. She did however continue talking for few minutes being even more rude.
We are both in CA... BUT: I never recorded a phone conversation or intended to, I don't have any recording device, I just said I record to make her stop. I lied as a result of my frustration at the moment.
Can she still sue me just based on what I said I do?

fixyourthinking said...

She can't sue you to begin with. You haven't used the conversation for any purpose (because you weren't recording it).

You are correct also that if she continued, she granted you consent to continue ~ if you had been recording.

If she were to attempt to to sue - you also have her for threatening you and harassment.

Peter said...

I recorded only my side of a phone conversation that took place in California. So, the callers voice is never heard only my voice and responses. Can my side of the phone conversation be used as evidence?

fixyourthinking said...

No, by law, if you intend to use any part of the conversation, you must notify the other party in a two party state. You may also be required to have an audible tone.

jennifer townsend said...

I am in the middle of a divorce and my hubby and I both are one party states so I know he can record these calls and use in court. But can he use in dealing with a divorce? Can I get theses recordings or hear them before court. I haven't gotten a lawyer yet due to him cutting me off financially and waiting on a loan approvement. So any help would be great on this topic. There is physical abuse during the marriage and he is pending assault charges.

fixyourthinking said...

Yes, he and his attorney can use them in court.

If he uses them in court, your attorney (or you if you are Pro Se ~ representing yourself) ~ you have the right to review them beforehand.

You can request a recess to review the recordings before submission to the court.

You can challenge the recordings if you feel they were taken out of context and provided in "soundbite form" so as misconstrue or confuse the listener about the intent of the conversation.

It would be great if you had a recorded conversation where you said, "Why did you hit me and leave that bruise or red mark on me?" His answer would be interesting to hear. If he denied it and you said, what about [that specific time]?

anonymous said...


I live in Ohio and the father of my son who also resides in Ohio called my work and harassed me via phone. I called him back. He didn't answer, he called me back then again and I recorded the conversation as a voicemail on my phone due to the harassing threatening nature of his call. He knew when the recording system stopped I was recording him because it stated "would you like to continue recording..." He has now supposedly contacted an attorney and is harassing me via text message stating there are legal ramifications coming my way for recording him from my place of work without his knowledge. Is this true? Any advice would be helpful.

super_mom73 said...

My daughter is 15 and last night she walked into the room that I was in while she was talking to her dad (my ex-husband) on the phone. He was screaming at her as he normally does. She wanted me to hear the conversation and even whispered for me to record it. We all live in Alabama, which is a one party state. I recorded the conversation that he had with her and her dad. My question is this: Did I legally have the right to record this conversation? My daughter would have done it herself, but she told me to run and get it. Basically, can a 15 year old give consent to have her conversation recorded by a third party?

fixyourthinking said...

Affirmitive to all questions, but she knew you were recording so you are safe. She was able to record it herself if she has the know how and knowledge of the law presented in this forum.

Anonymous said...

I live in a one-party state and was recently given a written reprimand at work and was subsequently terminated. I recorded the entire termination meeting (face to face) because the reprimand was based on hearsay, but when asked by one person present(near the end of the 55 minute meeting) if I was recording the meeting, I said no. I was afraid they would try to stop me or retaliate any furture employment. Have I violated the law? May I still use the recording as rebuttal, if needed?

fixyourthinking said...

This reference is specifically addressing phone call recording because there are very consistent and concrete laws governing it.

However, I will answer your question as an exception … Basically you violated several laws. Since I don't know the state, county, or city, or whether you are in the city limits … I'll just cover Federal law.

You CANNOT record anyone without being involved in a sanctioned law enforcement action without their knowledge and specific written and signed release. News media may record you at a public event or event to which they were invited unless stipulated that recording devices are not allowed.

You could be punished severely if you use the recording in any capacity.

I cannot clarify this and I won't publish any further on this because again, the reference is strictly governing recording PHONE calls.

sip recording said...

I firstly make sure that I record most of the phone calls I make to verify content.

Anonymous said...

I just read on another site that while Missouri is a one party state it is illegal to record a phone call in support of a criminal or tortious act. Is this true?

fixyourthinking said...

Sorry, I'm not meaning to sound like the ultimate authority but after years of handling comments and testifying as an expert witness on these matters …. other websites are wrong. Do you have any case law?

Anonymous said...

I live in New Hampshire which is a 2 party state. How does this relate to my friends and I having phone conversations or text conversations being wiretapped or monitored by local police enforcement? Also, I called and spoke with an officer the other day, it is general common sense that anytime you call the police department it is being recorded. However, I was never given any notice and also recorded on my end. Would this be admissible in court as evidence? I mostly recorded the conversation so my attorney can give me his take on it. Would he at least be able to say yes I heard it for myself even if the judge didn't allow it into evidence?

fixyourthinking said...

Law enforcement must tell you that you are being recorded UNLESS you KNOW or have been told there's a tap on your phone. If you are part of a sting, they are allowed to temporarily tap your phone without your permission.

All laws apply - 2 party states - unless meeting exceptions outlined - notification MUST be given.

JanetPlanet said...

Thanks for this website!

I have read through just about all the comments, but I'm still confused.

I am in California.

I legitimately owe money to creditors. I have a weird problem in that I WANT to and CAN now start paying back these debts, but I can't figure out who I actually owe the money to. I have several Chase credit card accounts, as well as others.

I take full responsibility for these debts. I do, in fact owe them. I was medically unable to do anything about these debts until recently. But it's now become a giant clusterfluff.

I believe Chase has sold my accounts to a multitude of debt collection agencies. Although they are supposed to, debt collectors do NOT give out any information. I can't even get them to tell me from where they are calling. This is just one of the reasons I need to record these calls.

When they call me, I can't even figure out which account they are referring to. I realize this isn't what this site is about...I'm trying to get to the relevant stuff without boring you too much.

1. If a debt collector calls ME, and "notifies" me that the call is being recorded - do I then also have to "notify" them that I am recording the call as well? Or can I just go ahead and record the conversation without saying a word about it?

2. If a debt collector calls me and I ask them if they are recording the call, and they say yes. Is that adequate for me to record the call without saying anything about it?

3. If I notify the debt collector in writing that I record all calls outgoing or incoming from them, do I then still need to "notify" them of my recording the call at the time of the actual call?

4. I have requested recordings of my conversations with debt collectors and have literally been laughed at. Even my written requests for said recordings have been ignored. I want a specific recording because a debt collector said that during some unspecific recorded conversation, I said I am hiding assets from them. (I am not.)

"if someone records your call ... you are entitled to record and entitled to get THEIR archive of that recording.

11/26/08 5:32 PM"

Yes, but even if I am "entitled", do I still have to "notify"?

5. You mention "time stamping". How would I go about doing this? Can I say during the beginning and end of the recorded conversation, "It is August 3, 2012, 2:30pm?"

5. Do I need to have a recorder that "beeps" at regular intervals?

Thanks so much!

fixyourthinking said...

In California … you must notify the party EACH conversation because with a debt collector, you potentially could speak to a different person each time. Even if speaking to the same person - you must notify them.

You don't have to have the tone … it would help, but it is isn't imperative.

I would suggest you go to a debt management service to consolidate your debt into one monthly payment and let them take over, then after 45 days, the creditors are legally no longer allowed to call you.

They will manage all of your accounts and give a nice statement as to what you owe on each and how you are progessing.

I suggest CareOne.

The services aren't free, but your payments each month can be as low as $130 for a term of up to 8 years. They will settle your debts for a fraction of what you owe and it's not bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

I have been receiving phone calls from a debt collection agency. I live in california(2party state) and have a 408 area code phone number. The debt collection agency has been calling me from a 408# as well. I went on their website and it states they are in north carolina(1 party state). And this agency has gotten me to the point where i want to sue them for how are they are treating my and also calling my boyfriends cell phone also. Am I aloud to record the calls without consent if they are in a 1 party state and I am in a 2 party state?

FYT said...

Ask them what state they are calling from?

Then ask, what city.

If they give you a 1 party state answer then you do not have to notify them.

It shouldn't affect the call if you told them though.

Joe said...


Thank you for this informative website.

Here's my question: My ex-wife and I both have homes in the same one-party state. However, I was physically situated (and stayed overnight) in a two-party state when she called me. During the conversation, she said she was not recording. Now she intends to use the recorded conversation against me in court. Is this admissible considering I was in a two-party state and was not notified? If not, how much proof do I need of my physical location?

I did not think that this conversation would result in a legal action against me, and did not save any of the receipts from my trip.

I have read through all the comments and understand that the laws of the state where the person receiving the call resides govern. But reside can mean either: where one makes one's permanent home or where one is situated.

Your insight is urgently needed and deeply appreciated.

Thank you!

fixyourthinking said...

To James F. that recently commented.

I'm unsure of approving the moderation of your comment.

I feel that you have all the answers, but technically you didn't ask a question.

I assume you meant, "Is it legal to have recordings if made from a VOIP phone". Well in your case, probably no because you admit that even you yourself didn't know you were being recorded, so, technically, you may not even be covered under a one party notification state.

On the contrary, if you spoke with a govt funded employer on A TAXPAYER paid line, you may have some ground.

Furthermore, you can always carry something to the point of near sanction in a court to get a jury or judge to listen to it. Even if a judge says a recording is inadmissible, a clever attorney knows how to work evidence in or how far to push a judge or jury.

fixyourthinking said...

To previous unanswered question.

Laws are based on permanent residence and can even be extrapolated to mean "where you are reasonably presumed to reside."

While you may THINK laws have loopholes - in reality most law has case law to back it up.

In your "case" ... If you'll read through this database, I think your answer is covered

brb28083 said...

I live in South Carolina, a one consent state. Me and my boyfriend filed a insurance claim ( renters insurance) being 3 weeks ago our home was burglarized. The insurance company is in Florida, a 2 party consent state. Yesterday, the claims adjuster on the phone wanted to do a recorded phone interview/statement. I told her, "only if I could do the same ( record the conversation)". She stated, "no, sorry, but I cannot authorize you to record this interview ". I then informed her i would not authorize a recorded conversation { as i know, the phone call was not being recorded at that point nor was I informed it was being recorded }..The adjusted stated she understood, but had a couple of questions about a few missing items that belonged to my boyfriend ( we both are on the policy) and asked to speak with him for clarification on the items..I put him on the phone and she was asking him questions, periodically he would ask me the same question if he didnt know the exact answer, and I was in and out of the room while he was speaking to her on the phone. Often he would call me into the room to ask for clarification on something asked and I would tell him. After he got off the phone he told me she did a recorded phone interview and got his permission to do so. I was upset that I had told her earlier, "no, not if we could not record the conversation ourselves as well". I realize she can do that, he is his own person. Nothing illegal about that, just ticks me off she was sneaky!!. My question is this: During the recorded conversation between my boyfriend and the adjuster, I of course was talking in the background answering my boyfriends questions for clarification and unaware it was being recorded. ( of course if I DID KNOW i would have told him to hang up! - being I was ticked off and would have told her to contact my attorney)..Since the call originated from Florida, and she was interviewing my boyfriend, and when he told her things like, "I dont have the answer, hold for a moment while I ask my boyfriend", should she have told him to inform me the call was being recorded? she just went right with it and said nothing and I , again, had no idea it WAS being recorded and me in the background giving answers to the questions..Thanks!

fixyourthinking said...

Being in a one party state, you did not have to obtain their permission.

Also, you can report the company to the FTC and to the Florida Attorney General.

You may also want to file a BBB report.

Anonymous said...

I live in Mississippi. I know the bases for all these comments is over the phone conversation however i am in a custody battle with my child mother and i have full legal and physical custody now and she has suppervised visits. our papers list i can pull the visits if the people listed are not fit or willing to control her and she must seek an outside supervisor. i met with her mother yesterday who is one of the listed people i have deemed unfit. i recorded the conversation in a public parking lot with two people around that could also hear this conversation. would i have the basis for being able to use this recording if they take us back to court on this matter or at the least ask her questions based off of her statements and use it to see if she purgers herself on the stand?

fixyourthinking said...

If the conversation was not public you most likely were breaking the law if you were recording her in public without her consent or without her assumption the recording was benign - ie News reporting, general videography, funded research.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am a daycare provider and I am ending my two weeks of care for a child. The mother has made me feel unsafe because of her and the child's fathers criminal history. I am planning on recording our conversation. I am in Utah. As a business to client conversation would I be able to use this recording as a legal tool to defend myself in case of accusation? I have done nothing to harm her child or her and her reputation. I just want to make sure no "situations" pop up, since I am a Home Provider and I am by myself caring for the children.

fixyourthinking said...

No problems whatsoever ... Utah is a one party state.

You don't even have to notify them. You are the one party that is aware of the recording.

Anonymous said...

If my wife and I are in Connecticut and her crazy dad from NJ calls her, can she put it on speakerphone and use my phone (nj number) to record the room noise which includes their conversation... Is that legal?

fixyourthinking said...

If you call someone in a two party state, you can record them if you tell them they are being recorded.

If someone calls you, and you are in a one party state, you do not have to notify them of a recording as long as one of the two people in the conversation knows they are being recorded.

Remember though, it's only notification.

Send the dad a letter or an email where he responds saying that you'll be recording all phone conversations.

Just tell him you will be recording.

Anonymous said...

The author states that " there is no such thing as call recording PERMISSION or AUTHORIZATION."

However, Massachusetts' statute, Part IV, Title I, Chapter 272, Section 99.B.4 states "The term “interception” means to secretly hear, secretly record, or aid another to secretly hear or secretly record the contents of any wire or oral communication through the use of any intercepting device by any person other than a person given prior authority by all parties to such communication."

The statute goes on to make it illegal to commit an interception. See

Am I missing something here? How is Massachusetts NOT requiring "authorization?"

fixyourthinking said...

Authority and authorization aren't the same words.

Anonymous said...

I live in North Carolina and my soon to be ex wife has taken my child to Michigan without my consent. We are in the middle of a custody case in which she is attempting to make any claim possible to try to discredit me. She has called and left numerous vicious voice mails on my answering machine and cell phone, as well as sent emails of the same nature. She has called numerous times under the pretense of giving me updates on my child yet then proceeds to attempt to start an argument. A few days ago she stated via email that she has been recording my phone conversations and will be using them in court. While I am not concerned about anything I have said (she is the one who ends up screaming profanities at me, I ask her to stop and tell her I will not argue then hang up) I am concerned about her being able to "cherry-pick" what she submits to court. You can turn anything around if you really put your mind to it. Since Michigan is a 2 party state and North Carolina is a one party state, and she is calling me from Michigan, do I have any rights regarding this? My attorney here advised me several months ago to NOT record any phone calls, but that voice mails are fair game as the person knows they are being recorded. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

ShieenaLivingWater said...

I live in 2 party state. Wife & child live in 1 party state. I started recording all calls to prove wife is not acting in best interest or welfare of child; i.e. being left alone (Orders: Child must be left with age appropriate supervision). Child sneaks calls to me when left alone. In addition; I record wife now also as her comments substantiate child's. These recordings coming in from a 1 party to 2 party state are the only proof I will have to submit to the judge when we return to court. Thanks in advance.

fixyourthinking said...

"Since Michigan is a 2 party state and North Carolina is a one party state, and she is calling me from Michigan, do I have any rights regarding this? My attorney here advised me several months ago to NOT record any phone calls, but that voice mails are fair game as the person knows they are being recorded. Any advice would be greatly appreciated."

She can record anything she wants when she calls you.

The best way to handle this is for your attorney to motion in discovery that ALL "recordings" be turned over to make them admissible.

Make it known to the judge that the calls are "cherry picked" and that you'd like to counter with some choice recordings of your own.

The best evidence would be to say "please keep playing" and she flies off the handle.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I live in a one-party consent state and there's an attorney (representing the university) telling me I do not have the right (or that they don't consent to me) to record them. They also reside in this one-party consent state. On top of this they are telling me that I cannot talk to other professionals at the University. This last part forces to me to only speak to her while she continues to refuse to be recorded. Do they have the right to do either of these things? (This is a state university)


fixyourthinking said...

They have the right to refuse to talk to you.

You have the right to record them if they DO talk to you.

fixyourthinking said...

And just to clarify … you do not need to TELL them you are recording.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I live in Florida which is a 2 party state. I worked for AT&T for over 12 years. Last October I was dealing with a lot of stress issues from work. I called the companies Employee Assistance Program Mental Health hotline to seek assistance with dealing with that stress. The hotline answers with a recording that says "Your call maybe be monitor for training purposes". When the call was answered I told the person I did not want to be recorded or I would hang up. They switched me to a supervisor who then guaranteed me the call was not being recorded. The next day I went into work and my bosses had a copy of the entire phone conversation. They played the recording back to me and then fired me for some of the things I said about them. My question is did EAP have the right to record my conversation with them after I told them not to or I would hang up. Especially when they assured me they were not recording the conversation? Thanks!

fixyourthinking said...

If they have it recorded that they agreed they wouldn't record the conversation you MIGHT have some legal standing.

That said, if you were being told you were being recorded, which IS two party notification - then you may be recorded if you continue with the conversation.

Remember, it's notification, not authorization or agreement.

You were notified. They were notified by default. = Two party notification.

Anonymous said...

If I live in Nebraska and want to record a phone conversation with someone in Nebraska (one person consent state) but am on vacation in Connecticut (two person consent state), can I do this and use it in court if necessary? Thank you.

fixyourthinking said...

Yes, Nebraska ... as long as permanent residence AND STAY are in Nebraska

Anonymous said...

If an individual lives in housing on a federal military installation in a 2 party state and records a phone conversation with an individual in a 1 party state does federal law or the more restrictive state law apply?

fixyourthinking said...

The laws are not affected by military bases … just Indian reservations.

Anonymous said...

I like your post and is very useful! You mention that there is case law in CA regarding recording a call in CA and once the person is made aware that the call is being recorded and continues to speak then it is considered permission. Do you have a reference to the case law? Thanks

Anonymous said...

A relative of mine recently recorded a phone conversation between he & I and I am very unhappy about it. I was in California at the time, on my cell phone. He was calling from Virginia (I think from his cell phone). I live in Ohio though. Both OH & VA are one-party consent states, however CA is a 2-party consent state. Does the law go by the state I was in (CA) at the time of the call? Or does it go by my state of residence (OH)? Was it legal for him to record this conversation without my knowledge or not? Thank you very much for your time & answer!

fixtourthinking said...

Unfortunately by your state of residence.

Anonymous said...

I live in Florida. I had a falling out with my boss which lead to my quitting the job. My former boss left a message on my phone stating he had recorded our last phone conversation. Is that legal and if not what do I do? Do I simply take my phone to the Sheriff?

Anonymous said...

I recently had a falling out with my boss that lead me to quite working for him. He left a message on my cell phone saying he had recorded our last conversation. I am most displeased with this. We live in Florida. What can I do about it? Do I simply take my phone to the Sheriff to review the message he left? I never gave him consent to record anything.

fixyourthinking said...

Several things …

1) Was the cell phone company issue?

2) Were you on company time or on company property at the time of the recording?

3) Were you damaged by the recording? Did you specifically ask not to be recorded and the phone call he made to you - was it harassing?

If you file for wrongful termination, harassment, etc etc - you may use this as a pendant charge - meaning it will enhance your case.

Usually, the only "entity" that can be sued or "punished" by the law is a creditor that records you without your permission.

Anonymous said...

I just got off the phoe with a customer service agent from a company I believe is a scam and has charged me on my creaidt card. I live in CT--Now this person was rude and cut off the call so I called them up again and told them that I had a recording of the converstaion when in reality I did not! Can they sue me for just saying I have a recording while I really did not?

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