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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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