Georgia Recording Law Summary:
Georgia recording law stipulates that it is a one-party consent state. In Georgia it is a criminal offense to use any device to record or disclose communications, whether they are wire, oral or electronic, without the consent of at least one person taking part in the communication.
This means that in Georgia, you are legally allowed to record a conversation if you are a contributor, or with prior consent from one of the involved parties. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-66(a). This also means that as long as the presidents phone call was being recorded in Georgia, it was recorded legally.
However, there is one caveat which states that minors can have their electronic and phone communications legally intercepted by their parents without any prior consent.
Due to increased traffic in relation to this topic I will be temporarily adding in this section about the presidents phone call.
Is The Recording of the Telephone Conversation between President Trump and Brad Raffensperger Legal
During a call that took place last Saturday, President Trump pressured the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger to help him overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state. In light of this recent development, a debate has arisen among the American people concerning whether the recording was legal or illegal.
Through the 1-hour call, the President can be heard making unsubstantiated claims about election fraud and asking Raffensperger to find 11,780 votes in order to tilt the Georgia election result in his favor. At one point, he even goes ahead and “threatens” Raffensperger with criminal prosecution if the secretary fails to carry out his wishes, an act that continues his assault on American democracy and can be considered as extortion.
Was The Phone Recording Legal According to Georgian Law
The legality of the recording depends on who conducted the recording. Georgia is a one-party state. This means it is legal for a contributor to a conversation to record the conversation without the consent of other contributors. Also, third parties not taking part in the conversation only need prior consent from one of the contributors to make a recording of the conversation. This means the recording was completely legal if it was conducted by either Raffensperger or President trump or by someone with consent from either Trump or the secretary.
The only instance where such a recording may be considered illegal is if the telephone conversation between the President and Raffensperger was intercepted by a third party, without the consent of at least one of the participants taking part in the conversation. If this is the case, Georgia law is clear that any evidence obtained in such a manner will NOT be admissible in any Georgian court.
Even if the conversation had taken place in a state where consent from all parties taking part in a conversation is required before recording a conversation(all-party consent state), more often than not, the law in such a state has caveats that allow the use of illegally recorded conversations as evidence if the recording evidences criminal activities, e.g., extortion, robbery.
Who Made The Recording?
While it is not clear who made and leaked the recording? We can deduce this from the events that took place on Sunday. In a Sunday morning tweet, President Trump referenced the telephone conversation with Raffensperger and claimed that the secretary of state could not answer his questions concerning alleged voter fraud.
Raffensperger responded to this by saying, “What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”
From the above conversation, your guess is as good as mine. If Raffensperger recorded the conversation and leaked it to expose the truth, then the evidence from the call would be admissible in court if President Trump was to face prosecution.
You may not record conversations that you are not a part of without the consent of at least one party.
Trespassing on private property with the intention to eavesdrop or covertly spy on an individual is also forbidden under state law. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-62(3).
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.
Georgia Video Recording Laws
It is against the law to use any device to photograph or record a person’s activities which occur in a private place and out of public view, without the consent of that person or any other person being recorded. For example, if you have a security camera, you are not allowed to record or surveil your neighbor while he or she is in the backyard because that is a private place. Ga. Code Ann. § 16‐11‐62(2)
However, it is legal for occupants and owners of properties to use any device to record, observe or photograph the activities of persons who are on the property or in areas where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for the following purposes:
- Crime detection.
- Crime prevention.
Ga. Code Ann. § 16‐11‐62(2)(B)
Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-69: Persons who violate Georgia’s recording laws may be found guilty of a felony and upon conviction may be punished by imprisonment of 1-5 years or a fine not exceeding $10,000, or both.
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