How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102584
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Ely is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

in California, can you legally leave a running recorder in

Customer Question

in California, can you legally leave a running recorder in your own home?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.
Hello friend. My name is Ely, and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

Technically, this may be against the law depending on the circumstances.

California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation. Cal. Penal Code § 632.

This applies to "confidential communications," or, conversations in which one of the parties has an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation. See Flanagan v. Flanagan, 41 P.3d 575, 576-77, 578-82 (Cal. 2002).

That is as specific as it gets; from then on, it is on a case by case basis.

Now I understand that this is someone's home and the one setting the recorder may be the owner - yes. But then the above still applies.

The spouse/friend/live-in lover of the owner may have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" even if in your home, if they are having a conversation with you or someone else. Only if you TELL everyone that there is a recorder and they still go on talking, would this not be the truth.

There is no fine line between reasonable expectation of privacy and no expectation. It is on a case by case basis. So it would be up to the local prosecutor to think whether or not this qualifies even if the recorder was in one's own home. It is unlikely the prosecutor would bring charges, though. It is even more unlikely that if they do, a jury would unanimously convict.

However, it is still risky and may result in liability, so it is not recommended.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)