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Hands holding phones that spell, "Can I Record?"

CALIFORNIA is considered an All-Party Consent State, in that all people involved in the recorded communication must give permission.


There are circumstances and spaces that can affect whether you can legally record your abuser, even in a 1-party consent state.

Under California law, it is a crime punishable by fine and/or imprisonment to record a confidential conversation without the consent of all parties, or without notification of the recording to the parties via an audible beep at specific intervals. The California Supreme Court has defined a confidential conversation as one in which the parties have a reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or eavesdropping. In addition to criminal penalties, illegal recording can also give rise to civil damages. CA Penal Code § 632 (definition & penalty), § 637.2 (civil damages), Flanagan v. Flanagan, 41 P.3d 575 (Cal. 2002), Cal. Pub. Util. Code Gen. Order 107-B(II)(A)

California Penal Code 632 grants exceptions in a few specific areas:

Private citizens are allowed to utilize these exceptions in a much more limited capacity. In order to use this exception, 2 circumstances must be met:

    • The person recording must be a part of the conversation, this essentially changes California law from an all-party consent state into a single-party consent state.
    • They must be recording conversations in order to gather evidence that the other party committed one of the following crime: Extortion, kidnapping, bribery, harassing phone calls, or any felony involving violence against another person. This allows you to record conversations in most instances where you feel threatened.

Woman screaming, "WHAT CAN I DO?!?"


We know you, like all the others, probably already are documenting, but the problem is what and how you document probably doesn’t meet the criteria to be considered evidence in the legal system. The laws are very specific as to what is evidence and what is considered hearsay. And even if it does, if you can’t prove (chain of custody) that your documentation hasn’t been touched, edited, damaged, altered, or deleted, then the defense can argue it doesn’t count!

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Federal and state laws differ as to the legality of recording phone calls and conversations. Determining which jurisdiction’s law controls in cases involving recording devices or parties in multiple states can be complex, so it is likely best to adhere to the strictest applicable law when in doubt, and/or get the clear consent of all parties before recording.


Video surveillance laws differ greatly from state to state. There’s a total lack of federal laws prohibiting video surveillance in public, in the workplace, and elsewhere, sometimes known as CCTV, or closed-circuit television. Most states allow this surveillance to occur, but there are some small exceptions and some circumstances that require monitoring on a case-by-case basis.

If you discover any of the above information has changed, is outdated, or is otherwise incorrect before we do, please drop us an email and

Thank you.

*Information in the “Policy” section does not constitute as legal advice. Please consult an attorney for any and all legal advice.
(1) Recording Phone Calls and Conversations
(2) Video Surveillance Laws by State: Everything You Need to Know,

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