Can I record a telephone call without anyone knowing it?
You cannot legally record a telephone call without the other party knowing about it. It would constitute a violation of federal and Pennsylvania wiretapping laws. The PA wiretapping law makes it a crime to intercept or record any phone calls or conversations unless all parties to the conversation consent. You may record in public places where people have “no reasonable expectation of privacy,” but any situation that seemingly involves a private conversation may not be recorded without consent.
Federal wiretapping laws only require the consent of one party to the conversation, which can include yourself. Under federal law, you may record a phone conversation to which you are a party because only one party’s consent is required. However, it is likely that the stricter law will apply, so in Pennsylvania only those conversations to which all parties consent to recording may be recorded.
Additionally, even under federal law, you cannot record a conversation that occurs in your house, on your phone, without the consent of the people on the call. Ownership of the phone line does not grant the ability to record the call.
If you are caught illegally wiretapping/ recording a phone conversation without all parties consent, then you could be subject to criminal penalties, as well as extensive civil penalties, including fines and the payment of the Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees.
Contact our experienced Pennsylvania family law attorneys to learn about alternatives that can be used in preparing for your case, such as discovery, depositions, and testimony, that can prepare you for your case without having to risk breaking the law.
Our office accepts Pennsylvania family law cases including divorce, equitable distribution, spousal support, alimony pendente lite, alimony, paternity and child support matters, child custody cases, juvenile law cases, and related matters in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Beaver County, Berks County, Butler County, Clearfield County, Washington County, Westmoreland County (Greensburg), Lawrence County. Our law firm accepts Pennsylvania family law cases from other Pennsylvania counties including Armstrong County (Kittanning) Clarion County, Fayette County, Greene County, Indiana County, Somerset County, and Venango County on a case-by-case basis.
The statements in this section are based on Pennsylvania law and have been issued to inform and not advise. The statements are general in nature and individual facts in a given case may alter their application or involve other laws not referred to here