Had a juicy conversation with someone and recorded it? That’s a crime! If you have been charged with illegal wiretapping, you need to contact us today our criminal defense lawyers have over 20 years of combined experience and can help you. We are open 24/7, give us a call today for a free consultation, or fill out the contact form on this page.
It may seem harmless to record a conversation with someone, however such action may lead to criminal and civil liability. The federal government and states have an interest in protecting its citizens from having their conversations recorded without their consent. As a protection, the federal Wiretap Act was created to implement restrictions on what type of conversations may be recorded.
It is illegal for any person to secretly record a conversation with someone whether it is an oral conversation, by telephone, or even electronic communication, and the other parties to the conversation reasonably expected to be private. (18 U.S.C. § 2511.) Under federal law, a person can record a conversation as long they are a party to the conversation or one party to the conversation consented to the recording and had full knowledge and notice they were being recorded. The “one-party” consent is required under federal law. 18 U.S.C.§ 2511(2)(d).
In Florida the “one-party” consent does not apply, and the state law is different. The state of Florida gives their citizens more protection against having their conversations being recorded. Many people are under the impression that if they record their own conversation with someone else because they’re a party to the conversation the other person does not need to consent to the recording. However, under Florida state law a two-party consent is required.
In Florida for a conversation to be recorded it needs a two-party consent, meaning that everyone who is being recorded needs to have given consent to the recording. If you want to record a conversation, you must have the consent of all of the parties involved even if you are recording your own conversation. If you want to record a conversation in Florida, you need to be sure the other person is aware that their conversation with you is being recorded and they agree to it.
There’s an expectation under the Wiretapping Act and Florida law for in-person conversation when all the parties do not have an expectation of privacy in the conversation, such as a conversation that was engaged in a public space where others could reasonably hear it. Whether one has a reasonable expectation of privacy in a given situation will depend on the setting. As an example, if you secretly recorded a conversation where a friend was bragging about cheating on their spouse, but that conversation took place in a party where others heard or could have heard because it was in a public place, you cannot be charged for illegal wiretapping. The conversation was not in a private setting, and they could not have an expectation of privacy in such cases.
Anyone who violates federal, or state wiretapping laws may face imprisonment, a fine, or even an order to pay damages in a civil lawsuit. In criminal cases a person who violates the federal Wiretap Act faces a possible sentence of up to five years in prison, a fine of $500, or both. (18 U.S.C. § 2511.)
If you or someone you know is being charged for illegal wiretapping, Contact Smith and Eulo now, and let our team of experienced defense lawyers bring our expertise to fight for you. We will examine the details of the case and use our years of knowledge to craft a defense strategy specific to each situation.