Conversations with the person on an recorded state line, When you call state officials and you’re already on a recorded line and you tell them that you’re recording the phone call also, and they tell you it’s illegal to record ,how is this possibly illegal for me recording if they are already recording you?

  • What state are you in?
    – Putvi
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 20:37
  • How do you know the line is being recorded? Did they inform you that it was? Commented May 6, 2019 at 21:27
  • In florida called police , said it was a recorded line , They can record me, and I have no right to record them back? If I want to talk to the police in my county basically I have to talk on a recorded line, why am I not allowed to record them also ? Its a bit hypocyritical .
    – Mariamaria
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 22:38
  • Related: law.stackexchange.com/questions/5614/… Commented May 7, 2019 at 1:45
  • 1
    When I told the police that I was recording them as I was speaking and let them know ,they told me it was illegal, even though they were recording me, double standard?Called in to report a crime, ended up realizing why people hate police
    – Mariamaria
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 3:36

2 Answers 2


This depends entirely on STATE law, and you need to list the state(s) you are interested in in the question. Thus, the usual legal statement "it depends."


Don't accept legal advice from the police at face value. Police frequently don't actually know the minutiae of the law, and/or often misunderstand it. Their job is not to provide legal advice nor legal judgement, their job is to enforce the law based on certain priorities. Thus the area of enforcement is usually narrowed to specific categories so they can be experts in that area. (I.e vice cops, bunko squad, homicide division, etc.)

But police are not lawyers, so don't expect them to understand the law. They did not attend 3 years of law school after attaining a college degree, which lawyers DO. Police get as little as 3 months training (in some states like Arkansas they can be put on duty without ANY training for up to a year (!) before attending the academy).


There are single and two party states. In single party states, any single person who is part of a call or communication can record it. In "two party" states, everyone that is part of the call must be informed.

There are numerous exceptions and stipulations however.


First off, is there an "expectation of privacy." Again this varies by state and case law. Generally, if there is no expectation of privacy, then there is a clear exception to record. For instance, if you are in a busy restaurant, and people around you can hear or eavesdrop, you have no expectation of privacy.

Courts have also ruled that if you are in the presence of a police officer performing official duties, there is also no expectation of privacy (not for either of you).


Are you being recorded? If you are in a two/all party state, and you have an expectation of privacy (a phone call made in your home) then one of the following must occur:

  1. If the police are recording you without your knowledge, they must have a court order permitting them to do so as part of an investigation.
  2. Otherwise you must be notified with a statement at the beginning of the call that the call is being recorded. (Typically your option is to hang up or continue. Continuing the call implies your consent.)
  3. In some states the notification can be in the form of a "duck" or a beep every 15 seconds (time period varies, this is also different per state).


I would think that being notified that a call is being recorded ends any expectation of privacy for any involved party. Assuming the state law and related case law supports recording when there is no expectation of privacy, this circumstance would seem to permit recording legally.

Doubly so if your were talking to police in official capacity (did you notice a beep every xx seconds?)

CAUTION: Because this varies so much by state, and because even the various Federal District Courts are not in unanimous agreement on the minutiae, there may be other factors to consider.

  • I like this answer, but one point that should be noted is that the recording by the police department may be a record that can be requested via a freedom of information act request.
    – A. K.
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 1:28
  • @A.K. Interesting thought, however: "The FOIA applies only to federal agencies and does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, or by state or local government agencies." But Florida may have some similar law in place.
    – Myndex
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 3:33

Florida law requires both parties to consent for the call to be legally recorded. http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/florida-recording-law

If they are not consenting to the recording by asking you not to record them, they can not and are probably not recording you.

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