Secretly Recording Someone is a Crime

20150617-043Did you know it is a felony in Florida to secretly record someone without their permission? There is a Florida statute, F.S. 934.03, that makes it illegal to do this. Most cellphones have an application that allows a person to quickly and quietly record a private conversation. As a criminal defense lawyer, I see this all the time. Someone will come into my office and say: “ I can prove he said it, I have it right here”. Believe it or not, not only is the secret recording illegal, the playing of it to someone else is also illegal. There are some civil divorce lawyers that are unaware of the fact that having a client play it to them is a crime.
Not only is recording the conversation “illegal”, the evidence gathered cannot be used in any Court proceeding. The law also provides that any evidence coming from or derived from the secret recording, is also not admissible in a Court hearing or proceeding. Although well intentioned, trying to gather evidence on your own can result in a person being charged with a felony. In Florida, both parties to a conversation must consent to the recording. There are a couple of exceptions but most of the time, it is flat out illegal.
There are often secret recordings made by spouses in divorce situations. The husband or wife will try and get some admission or piece of damaging evidence over the telephone or in some instances by the planting of a voice activated recorder in a car or bedroom. A voice activated recorder can be purchased for $39.95. One spouse or the other will leave it where it is likely to pick up a conversation. The recorder just sits there, not recording, until a conversation or sound activates it. Such secret recordings are illegal and cannot be used as evidence in any trial or hearing in Florida. Just because it is illegal does not mean people do not do it. It happens all the time. If you suspect you have been secretly recorded let your lawyer know.
If you have screwed up and done this, not knowing it was illegal, contact us for a free consultation. Do not try and use the recording to force a settlement or force someone to do something. Married men in Sarasota can find themselves being extorted by unscrupulous women. A secret tryst with audio can come back to haunt them in terms of financial demands with the threat of exposure. They can be “shaken down” by women who claim they will expose them or send the audio to their wives. Never succumb to blackmail, it never ends.
If you want a free confidential consultation, call my office in Sarasota at 941 366 3506