Is it Legal to Video Tape Someone Without Them Knowing?

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“Is it legal to video tape someone without them knowing. This person was intoxicated and was saying things that would never be said normally. Now this tape might be shown to the D.A. to get this person into trouble.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Many states prohibit the audio or video recording of someone without their knowledge and consent. However some states only require “one-party” consent, meaning that a person may lawfully record his or her own conversations. In one-party consent states, as long as one person participating in the conversation has consented, the entire conversation may be recorded. Thus, if your state permits such recordings, then as long as one party consents, the recording may be legal. The Radio-Television News Directors Association has an interesting state-by-state guide to the legality of recording and videotaping at www.rtnda.org.

With that said, unless the drunk person was confessing to the Lindbergh Kidnapping or giving the GPS coordinates of Jimmy Hoffa’s body, I’d be very surprised if the D.A. were interested in someone’s drunken ramblings. Such statements might not be admissible in court and would certainly be easily dismissed as, well, the ramblings of a drunk.



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Author: Ray Everett-Church, Esq.

Ray Everett-Church is a privacy and security consultant with PrivacyClue LLC and is co-author of "Internet Privacy for Dummies"

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