I know about wiretapping law. But I expect a recording between me and my doctor to be ok to record because I paid for the consultation and I'm paying for what he said. The reason why I want to record is I suspect he's lying to me and therefore conducting malpractice. Is it ok to record and if not, What would be the best thing to do here?

  • 6
    If you think your doctor is lying to you, you go find another doctor not try to entrap them.
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 12 at 13:31
  • 2
    This can be answered easily by reference to the California law on recording a conversation. We don't generally close questions because we don't like the idea or subject matter, so why the close votes here? Feb 12 at 16:22
  • @JonCuster I already done treatments based on this doctors false advice. The treatments are by themselves harmless in terms of side effects but they cost a lot of money. This is malpractice and I want my money back. But I want to prove it as well through the law. Entrapping a corrupt doctor is 100% the moral thing to do here. Letting him treat other patients with his bullshit is wrong. I stand by my action here EVEN if I don't stand to get a refund for all the bullshit treatments. Let me ask you, why do you want to protect corrupt doctors? Makes no sense. I'm in the right here, morally. Feb 12 at 19:31
  • If you have already received treatments, then there should already be plenty of records/paperwork. You are also violating the policy that this site is not for legal advice.
    – SegNerd
    Feb 12 at 19:38
  • @SegNerd it's not legal advice. Just acting for opinions on the ability to record patient doctor conversations as the patient. The treatments are legal on paper. It's just the doctor might have did/said things that aren't legal. Hence why I want to record it. I paid for the conversation anyway. Looks like this is a loophole bypassing the intent of the law. I will likely have to ask to record. Seriously is there really no way to document malpractice when over half of what a doctor does is telling you via word of mouth? Feb 12 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


California is a two party consent state. You can, of course, tell the person you are speaking to that they are being recorded and if they continue to speak, it is no longer a violation of the statute.

The pertinent statute is California's wiretapping law is a "two-party consent" law. This means that:

California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation. See Cal. Penal Code § 632. The statute applies to "confidential communications" -- i.e., conversations in which one of the parties has an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation. See Flanagan v. Flanagan, 41 P.3d 575, 576-77, 578-82 (Cal. 2002). A California appellate court has ruled that this statute applies to the use of hidden video cameras to record conversations as well. See California v. Gibbons, 215 Cal. App. 3d 1204 (Cal Ct. App. 1989).

If you are recording someone without their knowledge in a public or semi-public place like a street or restaurant, the person whom you're recording may or may not have "an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation," and the reasonableness of the expectation would depend on the particular factual circumstances. Therefore, you cannot necessarily assume that you are in the clear simply because you are in a public place.

If you are operating in California, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording any conversation that common sense tells you might be "private" or "confidential." In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the California wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party. See Cal. Penal Code § 637.2.

California is located in the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals Circuit, however, which has ruled that two party consent statutes are unconstitutional. See Project Veritas v. Schmidt, 72 F. 4th 1043 (9th Cir. July 3, 2023).

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