If someone is threatening to kill me, is it OK if I record video and audio of them threatening me and arguing?

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If someone is threatening to kill me, is it OK if I record video and audio of them threatening me and arguing?

I got into an argument with someone that I’m living with in a guest house. Can he sue me for violation of privacy or violation of recording without his consent?

Asked on June 30, 2013 under Personal Injury, New Jersey

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If someone is threatening to kill you, it would be advisable to contact the police.  The person threatening to kill you can be charged with assault.  Assault is both criminal and civil.  This means that in addition to pressing criminal charges, you could also file a lawsuit for assault.

Assault is intentionally placing one in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery without consent or legal privilege.  Assault does not require any physical contact (battery), only placing one in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery.

You can record the threats and if the person tries to sue you for not obtaining his consent to being recorded, he won't prevail because you can assert the defense of necessity.  The defense of necessity is doing what is reasonably necessary to prevent the greater harm.  Here recording without consent is reasonably necessary to save your life.


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