Is It Legal to Record a Conversation with Another Person in Ohio? The Answer May Surprise You

September 10, 2012

Auto Accidents, Misc. Topics

Recording ConversationIf you think it is illegal in Ohio to record another person’s conversation without that person’s knowledge, it is likely you are wrong.

According to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2933.52), Ohio is a “one-party consent” state.  This means recording of wire, oral, and electronic communications is legal if the person instituting the recording is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has previously given consent.

Public expectations of privacy have changed due to advances in technology, increased availability of recording equipment—smart phones, tablets, and other small portable devices.  However, “a reasonable expectation of privacy” by the parties to a communication can serve to limit the legality of an unacknowledged recording, although the term, “reasonable expectation of privacy” has been defined in different ways.

An exception to the legality of making a secret recording, according to the Ohio Revised Code (Ohio law), occurs if that recording is:

(1). For the purpose of committing a criminal offense or tortuous act in violation of the  laws or Constitution of the United States or Ohio, or

(2). For the purpose of committing any other injurious act. (R.C. 2933.52(B)(4)

As one might expect, legal rights to record another do not extend to the use of hidden cameras to record images.

The Board of Commissioners on Grievance & Discipline of The Supreme Court of Ohio recently issued Opinion 2012-1 (June 8, 2012), a nonbinding opinion on the issue, specifically addressing whether an Ohio lawyer may engage in the surreptitious (secret) recording of a conversation if the recording is permitted by the law of the jurisdiction where the recording occurs.

The Board found that if the recording is permitted by the law of the jurisdiction, the secret recording of a conversation by an Ohio lawyer is “not a per se violation” of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, in this case primarily 8.4(c) which specifically forbids lawyer conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

However, the Board noted the recording may constitute misconduct if the lawyer lies about the recording, uses deceitful tactics to become a party to a conversation, or uses the recording to commit a crime or fraud.  In the opinion, Ohio lawyers were also advised not to record conversations with clients or prospective clients without their consent.

Persons who are asked to give a statement to insurance adjusters after an auto accident, or even to police, should be aware that they may be recorded.  Police often use video. It is a good idea to contact an Ohio attorney before providing any information which may be held against you in the future. (Information given in writing could be equally damaging.)

If you are asked to make a statement to anyone who is or could become an opposing party, please contact an attorney who has experience in these matters.  At SlaterZurz LLP, we are interested in protecting your rights and informing you when it is safe to speak or submit written material.

Contact us at 1-800-297-9191 for a free consultation with an experienced Ohio attorney if you have any questions about a car accident case or any other instance where you need the assistance of a capable Ohio attorney.

To learn more about Slater & Zurz LLP, please visit slaterzurz.com.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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  1. etvthroughinternet.com: The Leading ETV Through Internet Site on the Net - September 10, 2012

    […] Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2933.52), Ohio is a “one-party consent” state.Read the original post: Is It Legal to Record a Conversation with Another Person in Ohio? The Answer May Surprise YouRelated posts:Record a Wrongful Demise Suit: Strict Statutes in Limitations Quite often Surprise […]

  2. etvthroughinternet.com: The Leading ETV Through Internet Site on the Net - September 10, 2012

    […] recording of wire, oral, and electronic communications is legal if …Read the original here: Is It Legal to Record a Conversation with Another Person in Ohio? The Answer May Surprise YouRelated posts:Record a Wrongful Demise Suit: Strict Statutes in Limitations Quite often Surprise […]

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