Can I record audio in my kitchen when I leave, if I suspect my infant’s safety is at risk?

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Can I record audio in my kitchen when I leave, if I suspect my infant’s safety is at risk?

My now ex-fiancé and I live in the same residence with our 7 month old. We met in recovery meetings. I am 4y 4months sober, alcohol only. She used IV street drugs, cocaine and heroin. I suspected her relapse for months now. I saw her leave our residence without our son recently, also, neighbors tell me that people come here every time I leave, when I asked her, she denied both. Is it unlawful by federal or N.J. state law to hide a smart phone in the kitchen of my residence to record audio when I leave home as I fear my sons safety is at risk? The kitchen is the entrance we use most.

Asked on July 7, 2018 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can NOT record a person against their will--if you do, you are committing a crime (essentially, it is considered as and governed by the same laws as "wiretapping"). As you correctly point out, since you would not be there or be part of the conversation, you cannot to recording, so there would be no "one-party" consent to make this legal. If your ex-fiance or anyone goes into your kitchen and is audiorecorded by you without their consent, you could face criminal charges if the person recorded becomes aware of it. You could video record (e.g. a "nanny cam") in your kitchen, but not audio.


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