Is Audio Recording Legal in Pennsylvania?
With the advent of smart phones that double as recording devices, many people are accidentally violating Pennsylvania’s wiretapping law without even knowing it. Recording a conversation, phone call or meeting in Pennsylvania without all parties’ consent is a felony.
Fortunately, there are exceptions to the rule. Let’s explore how.
What is the law?
Regardless of where a conversation happens, whether in your home or a public park, it is illegal to record a conversation without the other person’s consent. This is because Pennsylvania is a two party consent state, meaning that both sides need to know about the recording and agree to it. This law is found under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. SS 5702.
This is different than New Jersey, which is a one-party consent state. However, a good criminal defense attorney will be able to explain to you that there are exceptions to this rule. For example, it is legal to record a conversation on your phone as long as you have the other person’s consent. This is also true for text messages and emails as well. In fact, the Superior Court ruled in Commonwealth v. Diego that e-mails and texts are not like phone or other oral conversations and therefore they don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
What is the legality of audio recording?
In Pennsylvania, like most states, it is against the law to record someone in their conversation without their permission. This is because Pennsylvania is a “two-party consent state,” which means that all parties to a conversation must agree to be recorded. This includes calls and conversations that are done over the phone or online.
The only exception to this rule is if you are recording a police officer while they are performing their duties in the public, which is legal under Pennsylvania law. It is also legal to film public protests and speeches, as long as you are not interfering with the event.
The laws surrounding the use of recording devices can be complicated, and it is important to make sure that you understand what the law says before using any device to record a conversation or meeting. A criminal attorney with experience in wiretap law charges can help you better understand your rights and responsibilities.
What is the legality of video recording?
With so many people carrying around cameras that double as phones, the question of whether or not it is legal to record someone without their knowledge has been brought up again. A recent incident in Lancaster County highlights this issue.
In general, it is legal to record a video in public spaces, but it’s important to be mindful of where you are and what the owner of the property thinks about it. They are within their rights to ask you to stop recording if they feel like your actions violate their expectation of privacy.
Pennsylvania law takes privacy concerns quite seriously, and it requires two-party consent in order to record a conversation. This goes for conversations that happen over the phone as well as those in person. It also makes it illegal to disclose or use the contents of an illegally recorded conversation. This is a third-degree felony under state law. 18 Pa.C.S.A SS 5703.
What is the legality of audio and video recording?
Pennsylvania is one of eleven states that are considered two-party consent states which means that everyone in the conversation must agree to be recorded. If not, then the recording is illegal and can result in a felony conviction. Additionally, if the person is found to have unlawfully recorded someone else, then they are guilty of violating Pennsylvania’s Wire Tap Act and can be subject to a fine of up to $15,000 per violation.
Some states, like Utah and Virginia, are known as one-party consent states where you can record a conversation as long as you are a participant or have the permission of one participant. However, in a recent case (Commonwealth v. Diego), the Superior Court of Pennsylvania held that text messages and e-mails did not fall under this category as they do not have the same level of privacy that a phone or oral communication does.
When you are charged with a crime, your attorney will look into every aspect of your case including whether the evidence used against you was obtained legally. Your attorney may be able to help you challenge any audio or video recordings used in your case.