Maryland Recording Laws

Maryland Recording Law Summary:

Maryland’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act stipulates that it is a two-party consent state. In this state, it is a criminal offense to tape-record a conversation without the consent of all involved parties. Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-402. This means that in Maryland you are not legally allowed to record a conversation you are taking part in unless all parties are in agreement. It is also forbidden to record someone with criminal or torturous intentions, and consent cannot be legally given in such situations.

Personal Conversations:

You may not record conversations without the consent of all involved parties.

However, Maryland law does make an exception in cases where the person or people communicating are doing so in an environment where they should not be under the expectation of privacy. For example, it is legal to record someone in a neighboring apartment if you can clearly hear them through the walls.

Maryland Video Recording Laws

No person is allowed to install or influence another person to install a camera on real property where a private residence is located for the purpose of conducting intentional secret observation of an individual inside the private residence. For example, it is illegal to install or use a surveillance camera to observe your neighbor while that neighbor is inside his or her private residence or inside his or her real property. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3‐903(c)

However according to the state’s laws, the following are not prohibited:

  • Installation of a camera by an adult resident of a private residence.
  • Installation of a camera in real property without the intention to secretly observe an individual inside the private residence.
  • Installation of a camera with the intention of secretly observing an individual inside a private residence after obtaining consent from an adult resident or guardian of an adult resident.
  • Lawful observation by a law enforcement officer conducting official duties.
  • Filming conducted by a person or member of the media through the use of a camera that is clearly visible.
  • Filming of a private residence through the use of a camera that is not located in the real property where the private residence is located.

Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3‐903(b)

Penalties:

Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-402(b): Breaking the wiretapping law is considered a felony, punishable by no more than five years of prison time and a fine of up to $10,000.

Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 3‐903(d): Breaking the hidden camera law is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine of $2,500, or both.

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