Is it Legal to Video Tape Someone Without Them Knowing?

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.

“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.”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

Question: 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.