Can I Record A Person Without His Consent Or Knowledge?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

A person called her friend, left a voicemail message, then left her phone open and talked at a private meeting. The dialog was recorded on the voicemail, and was later recorded and used against the person. Is this legal in any situation?

Because the person who started the recording (a voicemail) is also the person against whom the recording is being used, this is probably legal. Some states have strict laws against recording people without consent, but in this situation, the person consented to record her voice on the voicemail. Although she may not have consented to have her voice continue to be recorded, the continued recording was due to her own error. Additionally, as long as the proper foundation is laid, a court will likely find such a recording admissible. If, however, the recording was used against another person at the private meeting, some states may prohibit the recording’s use. Speaking to a local attorney would clarify if any laws protect anyone recorded.