Is it against the law to record a phone conversation with you knowing

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Is it against the law to record a phone conversation with you knowing

I called a school to file a complaint spoke with a school advisor told her my problem only to find out later that i was recorded without me knowing and the turned around and let the people that i was talking about hear it is that against the law

Asked on May 13, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 14 years ago | Contributor

Under Texas law, so long as a wire, oral, or electronic communication—including the radio portion of any cordless telephone call—is not recorded for a criminal or tortious purpose, anyone who is a party to the communication, or who has the consent of a party, can lawfully record the communication and disclose its contents. Texas Penal Code § 16.02.

Under the statute, consent is not required for the taping of a non-electronic communication uttered by a person who does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that communication. See definition of “oral communication,” Texas Code Crim. Pro. Art. 18.20.

A person whose wire, oral, or electronic communication is intercepted or disclosed has a civil cause of action against the interceptor or discloser. Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 123.002. Such a person is entitled to recover $10,000 for each occurrence, actual damages in excess of $10,000, as well as punitive damages and attorney fees and costs. Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 123.004.

In addition, unlawful recording of a conversation or disclosure of its contents with reason to know of the illegal interception is a felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Texas Penal Code § 12.33.

As you can see it can get somewhat complicated.  Basically Texas has a "1 consent rule", in other words, as long as one party consents taping is legal.  However there are certain exceptions.  Bottom line, since I don't have all of the specific details it's hard to say more.

You should run this by an attorney in your area.  For this type of case an initial consultation will probably be free.

Good luck.

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