Have you ever had the urge to be sneaky and record a phone call or a conversation between yourself and another person? You just want to prove that the other person is a liar or otherwise full of it, and you decided that recording the call is the best way to get that done. It is a perfectly normal and human thing to want to do. Well, doing that could get you into trouble in Florida and other states, if you do not let the other person know that you’re recording. As a Jacksonville divorce lawyer, I have on occasion enlightened clients that wanted to gain evidence against a spouse during divorce proceedings that this is not a good idea.
Have you ever wondered why the first thing you hear when you call a 1-800 number is, “This call may be recorded for training and quality assurance purpose.”? Some states, such as Florida, have laws that make it a crime to record a conversation without the knowledge and consent of the people taking part in the conversation. When you are told that the phone call is being recorded, but continue the call, you are consenting to being recorded. The rule against recording or “intercepting” communication applies to live conversations in person and conversations transmitted by wire or electronic means, basically over pretty all of the ways people communicate.
Under chapter 934, a person could be sentenced to as much as five years in Florida State prison for doing this. To make matters even worse, even if you record great evidence to use in your divorce case or other legal proceeding, the law does not allow it to be introduced as evidence. Pretty much the only thing that can be done with it is to have it used as evidence against you in a criminal prosecution. Of course, there are exceptions for law enforcement and people working under the direction of law enforcement, such as informants wearing wires.
You can protect yourself from these unauthorized recordings by paying attention to what’s happening. Often, people that are recording conversations talk differently than they normally do, or ask you to repeat things. It may be something as simple as them taking an odd position while sitting so that the recording device picks up your voice. Also, sometimes you can hear a low beep periodically in the background. This can indicate that there is an app running on a smartphone that is recording.
For more tips, or for help with your family or criminal case, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC. We have experienced attorneys that get help. Initial consultations are free.