In Texas, it is not illegal to record a conversation, even if you do not have the other parties’ consent. For example, you can record a phone call with someone else if you are one of the parties on the call. Texas is one of several one-party consent states. As a result, you can record a conversation you’re part of without telling the other party that you are recording them.
Texas’s One-Party Consent Law
Under Texas and federal law, Texans can record conversations without notifying the other person or people. You generally do not have to get consent from anyone else to record the conversation.
The Texas Penal Code Section 16.02(c)(4) creates an affirmative defense to wiretapping when one party intercepts or consents to intercept the communication. Federal law uses almost identical language, but they have an exception for when one party can sense the recording. When no one in the conversation can send it to the recording, recording the conversation can result in a fine, imprisonment up to five years, or both under Federal law.
However, you should be aware of whether the phone call is being placed to someone in a state that follows the two-party consent rule. The two-party consent states include Washington, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Montana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, Connecticut, and California. In a two-party consent state, the party cannot record a conversation without notifying the other party or parties that they are doing so.
If you are calling a person who lives in a two-party consent state, you could potentially face charges for recording the conversation without their permission. If you are unsure whether you can legally record a conversation with a person who does not live in Texas without their permission, it is worth speaking to a criminal defense attorney. Make sure you understand relevant laws before you begin recording without permission.
Can I Record Someone Else’s Conversation Happening in Public
Under Texas law, people are generally prohibited from recording other people in public when those people have a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, you can record conversations you are a part of without receiving consent. Recording another person’s phone call that you are not part of is generally prohibited under state and federal law. If you do not have the permission of the people you are recording and are not part of the conversation, you can face criminal charges.
Discuss Your Case With a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with illegally recording a conversation, it is crucial that you reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You could be facing fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record. If you are considering recording one or more parties without their consent but are not sure whether it is legal, it is worth speaking to an attorney. Do not hesitate to contact Abel Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation.