Montana Recording Laws

Montana Recording Law Summary:

Montana recording law stipulates that it is a two-party consent state, excluding some specific situations. In Montana, it is generally a criminal offense to use a hidden device to record oral or electronic communications without the consent of all contributing parties. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213 (2011). This means that in Montana you are not legally allowed to secretly record a conversation unless all parties are in agreement, but in some situations recordings can be made without consent as long as this is not done covertly. This means that although consent is not required, all parties must be notified that the conversation is being recorded.

Personal Conversations:

You may not record conversations without the consent of all involved parties, unless in one of the following situations:

  1. Consent is not required when recording elected or appointed public officials or public employees while they are performing official duties.
  2. Speakers at public meetings can be recorded without consent.
  3. When a person is told they are being recorded their consent is not required, as Montana law only prohibits recordings made in secret. As long as one party warns the other, either can lawfully record the conversation.

Montana Video Recording Laws

It is considered an offense of surreptitious visual observation or recordation to knowingly hide, wait, or otherwise loiter in person or by means of an electronic device within or in the vicinity of another person’s place of residence for the following purposes:

  • Secretly observe an occupant of the residence without his or her knowledge.
  • Secretly use an electronic device to observe or record visual images of an occupant of the residence without his or her knowledge.

So for example, it is illegal to secretly record your neighbor when that neighbor is inside his or her residence, including the backyard, front yard etc.

Mont. Code Ann. § 45‐5‐223(1)

It is also considered an offense of surreptitious visual observation or recordation to intentionally observe or record a visual image of the intimate parts of another person without that person’s consent or knowledge when that person is in a public place and has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Mont. Code Ann. § 45‐5‐223(2)

Penalties:

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213: Secretly recording an oral or electronic conversation is considered a misdemeanor and each subsequent offense will be subject to harsher and harsher penalties.

Mont. Code Ann. § 45‐5‐223(4): Persons found guilty of an offense of surreptitious visual observation or recordation may be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding 6 months, or both. For a second conviction, both the imprisonment period and fine amount may be doubled. Third and subsequent convictions may carry a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years, or both.

Other Montana Laws

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