Most of us have conversations in person and on the phone without having to record them. However, there are other situations where you may consider or possibly move forward with recording the conversation. Maybe you’re trying to gather evidence against someone that has done you wrong. Alternatively, perhaps you have a more innocent excuse – you’re talking with a bill collector, and you want to make sure that you keep everything documented. Apps on smartphones make recording a conversation as easy as tapping a button.
However, you should be aware that there are legal issues with recording a conversation, whether it’s in person in your home or over the phone. In some states, two-party consent is required before you hit “record.” This means that ALL parties involved in the conversation must be aware that they are being recorded. In other states, there are more relaxed laws.
Many states have single-party consent laws. This means that just one party involved in the conversation needs to be aware that it is being recorded. If you’re the one recording the conversation, for example, you do not have to reveal this to the other party.
Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia are single-party consent states. It’s important to note that some states do have exceptions to their laws. For example, in Hawaii, all parties must be notified if the recorder is located in a private area. Connecticut and Oregon have mixed laws. In Connecticut, the laws for in-person and recorded telephone conversations are different. In Oregon, in-person oral recordings require all parties to consent, but digital communications require single-party consent.
|California||Two Party Consent|
|Connecticut||Mixed Consent||Connecticut law is mixed. The laws for in-person conversations differ from those relating to telephone conversations.|
|Delaware||Two Party Consent|
|District of Columbia||Single-Party Consent|
|Florida||Two Party Consent|
|Illinois||Two Party Consent|
|Maryland||Two Party Consent|
|Massachusetts||Two Party Consent|
|Michigan||Two Party Consent|
|Montana||Two Party Consent|
|New Hampshire||Two Party Consent|
|New Jersey||Single-Party Consent|
|New Mexico||Single-Party Consent|
|New York||Single-Party Consent|
|North Carolina||Single-Party Consent|
|North Dakota||Single-Party Consent|
|Oregon||Mixed Consent||Oregon law is mixed. In-person oral recordings require consent from all parties, whereas for digital communications only require the consent of one party.|
|Pennsylvania||Two Party Consent|
|Rhode Island||Single-Party Consent|
|South Carolina||Single-Party Consent|
|South Dakota||Single-Party Consent|
|Vermont||Single-Party Consent||Vermont lacks an official law related to call recording, so Federal Law applies. This makes Vermont a single-party consent state.|
|Washington||Two Party Consent|
|West Virginia||Single-Party Consent|