Can I legally video and audio record my conversations with my legally separated spouse ?

Full Question:

Can I legally video and audio record my conversations with my legally separated spouse without her knowledge and have it admissible into court for our custody battle over our 3month old daughter?
04/07/2017   |   Category: Recordings ยป Wiretapping   |   State: Texas   |   #35341

Answer:

Texas Wiretapping Law

Texas's wiretapping law is a "one-party consent" law. Texas makes it a crime to intercept or record any "wire, oral, or electronic communication" unless one party to the conversation consents. Texas Penal Code § 16.02. Therefore, if you operate in Texas, you may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to the conversation or you get permission from one party to the conversation in advance. That said, if you intend to record conversations involving people located in more than one state, you should play it safe and get the consent of all parties.

The law does not cover oral communications when the speakers do not have an "expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation." See Texas Crim. Proc. Code § 18.20. Therefore, you may be able to record in-person conversations occurring in a public place, such as a street or a restaurant, without consent.

In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party. Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 123.002.

Consult the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's Can We Tape?: Texas for more information on Texas wiretapping law.