Is It legal To Record A Conversation In NY? Find It Out!


We often put ourselves in difficult situations where we need severe legal assistance. Therefore, we wish to record some conversation so that it saves us from the upcoming trouble. Now, is it illegal to record someone or not? We don’t know that.

The laws of recording a conversation differ primarily from one country to another or from one state to another. So, is it legal to record a conversation in NY-let’s find out. 

Is It Legal To Record A Conversation In NY? It’s Time To Talk About The Laws.

In the U.S., different states have different laws regarding the recording of a conversation. The rules further differ regarding the conversation, telephonic conversation, or other forms of communication. If the federal law protects anybody’s privacy, then the person recording a discussion will be strictly governed by its rules. 

The Federal Wiretap Act states that under any circumstance, it is illegal to record a conversation. If two people want to keep their communication private, it is well within their rights. However, there are exceptions to this law also. If one of the people involved in the conversation is recording it, or if one of the people is legally authorized to do so, then it is not illegal anymore. 

So, is it legal to record a conversation in NY? It looks like it is. The One Party Consent Law in New York makes it legal to record the conversation if one of the parties agrees to it.

What Are The NY Rules About Recording Court Hearings, And Public Meetings?

The One Party Consent Law makes it legal in NY to record a conversation if one party approves it. But, what about recording the public meetings or the court hearings? If one party agrees to the record, is it legal to record conversations even on official occasions? New York Trial Courts do not allow any recording devices within the courtroom. 

The Federal Appellate Courts permit specific recordings of conversation under exceptional circumstances. But, it does not allow to record any criminal matter. However, if the clerk is notified about the recording needs before the conversation, it may get allowed. 

In terms of the public meetings, the NY Government allows people to record the conversation without obstructing anybody. Now, don’t think that there cannot be any restrictions must because the recording is permitted. But, one thing that is clear so far is that there are several answers available to the ‘is it legal to record a conversation in NY’ question.

What Are Some Exceptions To The NY Conversation Recording Laws?

According to the Wiretap Law, it is illegal to record a conversation between two people. However, there are certain exceptions. If the conversation is happening in a public location instead of a private one, the law cannot punish recording. If the recorded individual did not treat the subject matter personally, the recording remains valid. For example, if you brag about cheating your partner in a party, and your conversation is being recorded, you cannot file a lawsuit against it. 

So, is it legal to record a conversation in NY? It looks like even though it needs one of the parties’ approval, there are plenty of loopholes here. If one of the parties gives an implicit indication about the recording, it becomes legal. For example, if you are talking to someone on the suicide helpline, the person you are talking to is very much obligated to record it. They don’t even have to let you know about the recording because that is their duty.

What Are The Penalties Of The Law Violation?

Although it is legal to record a conversation in NY when one party approves it, it is not lawful for all the U.S. states. Washington, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, California, Montana, and Michigan are the 12 states where you need the consent of 2 people to record a conversation. So now, if anyone violates the law and records the conversation, they will face penalties.

1: Criminal Penalty

If you breach the Federal Wiretap Law, you will face criminal penalty charges under Section 2511 of Title 18. They will get a sentence of 5 years in prison and get a $500 penalty for this crime. But, the criminal penalty charges are not the same in all these 12 states. For example, if someone violates the federal law in California, he will face one year in prison with a $2500 penalty. That is the law according to California Penal Code Section 631. 

2: Civil Penalty

Even if someone does not face the criminal penalty in the eyes of the law, they can always be subjugated under the civil penalty charges. For example, if you record a conversation with someone who resides in one of the 12 states, you will face the civil penalty.

The recorded person may file a lawsuit against you and can even threaten to sue you. Therefore, if wiretapping is not legal in these states, you must not do it until and unless everyone agrees to it. In such cases, the penalty charges depend on the person who filed the lawsuit in the first place. 

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

We hope you have found appropriate answers to the is legal to record a conversation in NY question by now. However, you may have some other questions in mind too. So let’s focus on those now.

1: Can My Attorney Record My Conversation, Or Vice Versa?

Ans:  If anyone of you resides in NY, you can record the conversation. However, if your attorney records you, he may have to seek your permission before presenting the recording as evidence. Otherwise, it will violate the attorney-client privilege clause. 

2: If I Stay In NY, And Want To Record A Conversation In Washington, Can I Do That?

Ans:  It will be a bad idea to record a conversation with someone who does not stay in NY. If that person wants to file a lawsuit against you, they can do that. So, it will be better to seek the consent of both these parties in such circumstances.

3: Is It Illegal To Record Someone In Public In NY?

Ans:  No, it is not illegal to record someone in public in NY. But, you cannot consider that evidence as admissible in court if none of the parties were aware of the recording. 


Is it legal to record a conversation in NY? Yes, it is provided one party agrees to the recording. Thus, it looks like the NY State Law is flexible to some extent when presenting solid evidence in court. However, if you are not aware of the different state and federal laws, don’t apply the NY law everywhere. It may get you in trouble. If you have any further queries, post them in the comment box below.

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