Is it legal to record a death treat in IL over the phone?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal to record a death treat in IL over the phone?

I know its illegal to record anyone
without their consent on the phone. But
what about death threats or other
threats of violence?? Any exceptions??

Asked on November 2, 2018 under Criminal Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no overt or explicit exception to the laws prohibiting recording someone in your state in a "surreptitous" manner, or without their knowledge. The law does sometimes recognize "necessity" as a defense to a criminal act (e.g. breaking into someone's home duringa blizzard because if you don't, you may die of exposure, may not be considered breaking and entering or trespassing; and self defense is a form of a necessity defense--you had to do what would otherwise be assault or even homicide to save yourself or another person) but that's not a hard and fast or well defined exception or defense; it is based on an essentially subjective determination by the authorties as to how dire the situation was and whether you had to do what you did. So recording a death threat to present it to the authorities may be seen as a necessary act and so not criminal, but we cannot say for certain that would be the case, because it is not, as stated, as explicit exemption from the law. All we can say is that it is unlikely that you would face consequences for recording a sufficiently credible threat.

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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