Can You Record without Consent in Florida?
In the digitalized modern world, criminal allegations can arise seemingly out of nowhere. When it comes to internet and computer crimes, it can be all too easy for good people to find themselves on the wrong side of the law, especially when it comes to recording private conversations in Florida.
Is it illegal to record conversations in Florida without explicit consent from the other parties involved?In this blog, we’ll explain what it means to be a “two-party” consent state and review common criminal penalties for recording without consent in Florida.
What Is a Two-Party Consent State?
Florida is known as a two-party consent state. This means that, under state law, all parties involved in private conversations must consent to that conversation being recorded. This differs from one-party consent states, where private conversations may be recorded as long as one involved party consents.
Criminal Penalties for Illegal Recordings in Florida
In Florida, the two-party consent rule requires all involved parties to give legal consent before a private conversation may be recorded. In other words, those wishing to record private conversations must obtain consent from all parties involved before recording, as codified in Florida Statutes § 934.03 and § 934.04.
Violating the two-party consent rule in Florida can result in serious criminal penalties, including imprisonment and fines. Common offenses that can be charged if Floridians violate the two-party consent rule include:
- Unlawful interception of oral communication: This offense occurs when someone intentionally intercepts or records a private conversation without all parties' consent. Unlawful interception of oral communication is a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Unlawful disclosure of intercepted communications: This offense occurs when someone knowingly discloses or uses the contents of a private conversation they recorded without consent. Unlawful disclosure of intercepted communications is a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Under state law, “recording” encompasses any audio or video recording method, such as recording on a phone or using a hidden camera. “Private conversations” refer to any conversation that takes place in a location with a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a private residence, hotel room, or office.
What Constitutes a “Reasonable Expectation to Privacy”?
Under Florida law, a “reasonable expectation to privacy” may apply when an individual has reason to believe they are engaging in a private conversation (e.g., that the conversation will not be intercepted or recorded by others).
As you can imagine, this legal concept can play a vital role in illegal recordings in Florida. If you record a conversation in a public place where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, it may not be considered a violation of the two-party consent rule.
Regardless, it’s imperative to consult with an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible when facing any criminal charges in Florida, as a skilled attorney can ensure your claims are fortified with as much relevant evidence as possible to maximize your chance of receiving a favorable outcome.
Fiercely Defending the Accused in Miami-Dade County
Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at Hubbs Law, P.A. have a successful track record defending the accused throughout Miami-Dade County. Our skilled advocates have a wealth of legal knowledge to fight tirelessly on your behalf. With invaluable experience as former prosecutors and trial lawyers, you can count on our firm to deliver the aggressive representation and customized legal solutions you need and deserve to restore your freedom and preserve your hard-earned reputation in Florida.
Charged with a crime in Miami or the surrounding area? Call (305) 570-4802 to request a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney.