Alabama Recording Laws

Alabama Recording LawAlabama Recording Law Summary:

Ala. Code § 13A-11-30

Alabama recording law stipulates that it is a one party consent state.  In Alabama it is a criminal offense to use any device to record communications whether it’s wire, oral or electronic without the consent of at least one person taking part in the communication.

This means that in Alabama, you are legally allowed to record a conversation you take part in.

Personal Conversations:

You may not record conversations that you are not a part of without the consent of at least one party.

If you are a third party and require consent from the parties taking part in the conversation the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states that you may gain consent to make a recording by:

  • Getting verbal or written consent prior to the recording being made
  • A verbal notification being played before the conversation begins (For example:  “This phone call is being recorded for quality control purposes…”)
  • An audible beep tone being repeated at steady intervals during the duration of the conversation

Alabama Video Recording Laws

As Alabama is a one party consent state it is legal to video record any conversation that you are personally taking part in.  Video recording where you are not part of the recording like surveillance is permissible in places where there isn’t an expectation of privacy, or if you own the property.  For example if you have a surveillance camera you are allowed to have it watch anything on your property, but you cannot have it pointing in to your neighbors house.

According to Ala. Code § 13A-11-30 you are not allowed to video record people in “A place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from casual or hostile intrusion or surveillance, but such term does not include a place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access”.

Penalties:

Ala. Code § 13A-11-33 In Alabama, installing an eavesdropping device in a private place with the intention of using the device for eavesdropping without the permission of the owner, tenant or lessee of the private place is considered a Class C felony which carries a sentence of not less than 1 year and 1 day and not more than 10 years.

Ala. Code § 13A-11-32; 13A-11-35 Criminal surveillance (e.g., using video cameras to surveil) and disclosing information obtained illegally (through criminal eavesdropping or surveillance) are considered Class B misdemeanors carrying a maximum jail time of 6 months.

Ala. Code §13A-11-31  Intentionally recording private communications of others (eavesdropping) without consent from at least one of the participants is considered a Class A misdemeanor carrying an imprisonment not exceeding 1 year.

Ala. Code § 13A-11-32.1 Surveilling an individual who is in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy for sexual gratification purposes is considered a crime of aggravated criminal surveillance. This is classed as a Class A misdemeanor which carries a sentence of not more than 1 year. Also, if a person has a prior conviction of this crime, the offense may be classed as a Class C felony which carries a sentence of not less than 1 year and 1 day and not more than 10 years.

Other Alabama Laws

4 Comments

  1. Landra

    If a person records a conversation that they were not involved in for the sole purpose of playing it for someone else, is that legal.

    Reply
    • Adam

      Alabama is a one party consent state, so if someone were to record a conversation they were not a part of it would be considered eavesdropping and be illegal.
      Ala. Code § 13A-11-33 Installing a listening device on private property is a federal offense with a prison sentence of 1-10 years.
      Ala. Code § 13A-11-33 In Alabama unlawful recording is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

      Reply
  2. Brandon Coltress

    So it states that you cannot surveil a person where there is the expectation of privacy for the purpose of sexual gratification but does that mean that I can or cannot videotape me and my girlfriend’s sexual acts and put it on a website? Isn’t that fine because that’s like a conversation that I’m in? Isn’t that what happens to celebrities? Their boyfriend videotapes it and puts it on the internet and that’s perfectly legal? I would like to do this? What should I know?

    Reply
    • Adam

      The big thing here is consent, which it sounds like you don’t want to get. So ethically, legally, and morally this would be wrong.

      Reply

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