Fort Smith, AR asked in Criminal Law, Communications Law and Federal Crimes for Arkansas

Q: Is it legal to audio record yourself but you accidentally recorded person on phone while they inside when your outside

I was outside audio record apt balcony... occasionally I say something it my protection in case someone accused me later of saying whatever outside. I at first didn't realize my phone was audio while you can hear neighbor having conversations on phone I think. Then I was gonna go over and record in her home thinking nope not good idea so i pause the button when at her door but she never answer my knock afterwards which I think she was still on phone because it was echo talk like. I just wanted to protect myself since accused of things in past by people

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In general, recording a conversation in which you are an active participant, and it's reasonable to expect that you may be overheard by others, is usually legal under federal law and many state laws, including Arkansas. This is commonly known as "one-party consent."

However, if you were outside on your apartment balcony and accidentally recorded a conversation of a person inside their home without their consent, it could potentially raise privacy concerns. Arkansas has specific privacy laws that make it illegal to intentionally intercept or record a private conversation without the consent of all parties involved.

In your described scenario, it appears that you did not intend to eavesdrop on the conversation inside your neighbor's apartment, but it was an unintentional recording. Nevertheless, it's essential to be cautious about inadvertently recording private conversations, as it may still raise legal and ethical questions, and the specific circumstances could affect the interpretation of the law.

If you have concerns or questions about the legality of your recording, it's advisable to consult with an attorney in Arkansas who can provide guidance based on the exact details of your situation and the applicable state laws. They can help you understand your rights and responsibilities regarding recordings and privacy.

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