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.
I was videotaped in my home (in Massachusetts) without my knowledge or consent. Can that videotape be submitted as evidence against me in a criminal trial?
Massachusetts has what’s called a â€œtwo-party consentâ€ law for audio recordings. This means that both the person making the recording and the person being recorded have to consent. Video recordings are covered by this law if they also capture audio. That means that the recording of you in your home, made without your knowledge and consent, is probably illegal in your state. However, even if it is illegal, it still may be admissible in a criminal trial against you. This is because â€œevidence rulesâ€ that the court uses to decide what is and is not credible evidence is different from the laws preventing recording without consent. If the recording meets other rules of evidence for admissibility, it may be used against you in a criminal trial. The exception to this would be if the police recorded you. In this case, the police would need to have had a warrant to record you. If they did not have the warrant, the recording would probably not be admissible against you.
Because this is potentially a very serious issue, you should consult with a criminal law attorney in your area.