What are my legal rights regarding voice recordings of me that I did not consent to?

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What are my legal rights regarding voice recordings of me that I did not consent to?

I have been having an affair with a very successful married man for 16 months who has been in an unhappy marriage for almost 2 decades. To make a long story short, my lover found a voice recorder in his truck put there by his wife to record each and every conversation he had with me. She now plans to file for divorce and says that she retrieved evidence from a private investigator who is also on the recording unbeknownst to her. My conversations with my lover are very candid and we have discussed very personal details of our lives which she has now listened to and categorized by topic in files on the sophisticated voice activation recorder. My lover and I are in shock because these conversations were very intimate and personal in nature. He stands to lose a substantial amount of money since he owns several companies and 1 of them does 3M in business every month. I am also going through a divorce and a brutal custody battle and some of my conversations contain information that could be potentially damaging to my representation, etc. I feel that what his wife did is a total violation of my privacy and can have harmful and humiliating effects to my personal life. Yes, I know it is wrong to have an affair with a married man but recording our conversations without his or my consent or permission is an evasion of our privacy. I’m not sure if he wants to pursue criminal charges against his wife as he may be trying to salvage their relationship for financial reasons, although her head is already gearing towards divorce. My privacy was taken away as I revealed things to my lover that I’ve never spoken to anyone about, including a famous person from my past that I once slept with. So far his wife doesn’t know that we found the voice recorder in his truck placed there by her. I want to sue for the personal violation of my privacy. I feel violated and humiliated and I believe his wife my reveal these details to my ex-husband or has already done so which will help him in our custody battle over our children. What are my legal rights?

Asked on February 16, 2019 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) In terms of criminal law, CA makes its illegal to record a conversation unless every person involved in the conversation consents or agrees to it. (CA is called a "two-party consent" state, but really should be called an "all-party consent" state.) It is a crime to record without everyone's consent under CA Penal Code Section 632. You could press charges, and she could potentially face a fine of up to $2,500 and jail time. Here is a link to the law: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=632
2) However, you can't effectively sue her in civil court because she has a good defense to any suit: your "unclean hands." To oversimplify, the law does not let someone who has herself done something wrong use the law to shield her wrongful behavior. You were engaged in an affair with her husband and impacting her marriage and life. Having done that, you can't stop her from using the recording of your and his wrongful behavior against him or you and cannot sue for compensation for her recording your own bad behavior.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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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