Is It Legal To Record The At-Fault Party And Use The Audio As Evidence In Florida?
"In Florida, it is illegal to secretly record a private conversation with other persons and disclose it to law enforcement or use it a supporting evidence in court," explains our Pembroke Pines car accident attorney from the Law Offices of Bradley Hartman.
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July 14, 2018

Recording every conversation in your life would help expose a lot of liars and make this world much more honest and sincere, which would be especially useful if you are a victim of a car accident and the at-fault car driver refuses to admit fault even though he promised at the scene to compensate for your injuries. It happens way too often…

Recording other persons’ oral communications is a very controversial topic not only in Florida but also all across the nation. Different states have different laws regarding whether or not an individual can record another person’s statements with his/her phone or other recording device and disclose it to the police or use it as evidence in litigation.

Recording other persons without their consent not illegal in some states

While in some states it is not prohibited by law to record other persons as long as just one party (meaning: you) is aware that the conversation is being recorded, other states, including Florida, on the other hand, prohibit recording another person unless that person was warned that the conversation is being recorded and gave his/her consent.

“In Florida, it is illegal to secretly record a private conversation with other persons and disclose it to law enforcement or use it a supporting evidence in court,” explains our Pembroke Pines car accident attorney from the Law Offices of Bradley Hartman.

Meaning: Forget about secretly recording your conversation with the person involved in a motor vehicle accident with you. Not only will it have no legal value and judges and juries will dismiss the evidence, but you may also get in trouble for breaking the law in Florida.

How you can legally record the at-fault party and use it as evidence

However, it not that simple. There is still a way to record another person and catch him/her admitting fault on audio. As always, there are exceptions to the general rule. As our experienced car accident attorney in Pembroke Pines has mentioned earlier, the other party must give his or her consent to recording the conversation in order to make the audio recording admissible in court.

That is why most businesses in Florida warn their customers before answering a phone call that the conversation is being recorded. Many of these businesses are able to win lawsuits against their customers simply because they use these recordings as supporting evidence.

Okay, but is there actually a legal way to record another person without having to get their consent or warning them that the conversation will be recorded? Actually, there is. Here is the thing: Not all oral communications are equally protected by Florida’s law in that regard.

It is legal to record another person if there are other people around

Our Pembroke Pines car accident attorney explains that Florida law recognizes “oral communication” as a private conversation that is not intended to be heard publicly. A phone call is one of those conversations classified as “private.” However, if you are recording someone in a crowded area (a bus station, for example), you do not need the other person’s consent to record the conversation because it is no longer a private conversation. As a rule of thumb, if there are no other people around, the conversation is considered private.

You do not need the at-fault party’s consent to record a conversation at the scene of the car accident unless only you and the other party can hear this conversation. If there are other people (passengers, witnesses, police), it may be legal to record the conversation without the at-fault party’s knowledge and consent because it is no longer a “private” conversation.

Find out your best legal options to recover damages in your particular case. Let our lawyers from the Law Offices of Bradley Hartman help you if the at-fault party refuses to admit his/her negligence. Get a free case evaluation by calling at 954-438-1000 or fill out this contact form.

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