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Susan Roberts
Susan Roberts, Judge, retired
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 716
Experience:  Licensed to practice law for 30 years. Retired state trial judge. Civil and Criminal experience.
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In Mississippi is it legal to record any phone call ...

Customer Question

In Mississippi is it legal to record any phone call you receive to use against people or do you have to tell someone in advance of your intentions with them?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Alice Wright replied 6 years ago.
It is illegal to record any persons conversation without their permission, except for governmental agency personnel.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: I prefer a second opinion.
Expert:  Susan Roberts replied 6 years ago.

Hello and welcome back:

I am following up on your request for a second opinion. XXXXX XXXXX was correct and I have the Mississippi statute for you to review.

Miss. Code Ann. §§ 41-29-501 to -537: It is generally a violation of Mississippi law to intercept and acquire the contents of wire, oral or other communications with a mechanical or electronic device. The law against interception of communications applies neither to a "subscriber" to a telephone who "intercepts a communication on a telephone to which he subscribes," nor to members of the subscriber's household. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-535, Wright v. Stanley, 700 So.2d 274 (Miss. 1997) (state law prohibition on wiretapping did not apply to former wife who intercepted communications on her own telephone).

Violations can be punished as misdemeanors carrying the potential for imprisonment for up to one year and fines of up to $10,000. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-533. It is a felony, however, for anyone who is not a law-enforcement officer to disclose the contents of intercepted communications for any reason other than testifying under oath in a governmental or court proceeding, and the penalty for such disclosure can be up to five years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines. Miss. Code Ann. §§ 41-29-511, 529. Civil liability for an unlawful interception is expressly authorized for actual damages, $100 a day for each day of violation or $1,000 - whichever is greater - along with punitive damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-529.

In addition, the law specifically provides that if a person is a party to a communication, or has obtained consent from any one of the parties, no civil liability can be imposed unless the interception was accompanied by a criminal or tortious intent. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-531. According to current legislation, the laws in place regarding the interception of wire and oral communications are set to be repealed on July 1, 2004. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-537.

Also, the contents of cellular telephone communications are unlawfully obtained when access is gained by a person who is not the intended recipient, or is not authorized to have access to the transmission. The possible penalties for unlawfully obtaining access to cellular communications are imprisonment for up to six months or a fine of up to $1,000. Miss. Code Ann. § 97-25-49.

 

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Susan Roberts, Judge, retired
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 716
Experience: Licensed to practice law for 30 years. Retired state trial judge. Civil and Criminal experience.
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