Texas Recording Law Summary:
Is Texas a One Party Consent State?
Texas recording law stipulates that it is a one-party consent state. In Texas, it is a criminal offense to use any device to record or share use 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 Texas, you are legally allowed to record a conversation if you are a contributor, or with prior consent from one of the involved parties, barring any criminal intentions. It is also lawful to record electronic communications that are easily available to the public. Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 16.02 (Vernon 2011).
Is it Legal to Record a Conversation in Texas?:
You may not record or share conversations that you are not a part of without the consent of at least one party.
However, Texas 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. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 18.20.
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.
Texas Video Recording Laws
It is against the law, with the intention of invading another person’s privacy and without that person’s consent, to:
- Photograph, videotape, or by other electronic means record, broadcast, or transmit a visual image of an intimate area of another person if that person has a reasonable expectation that the intimate area is concealed from public view.
- Photograph, videotape, or by other electronic means record, broadcast, or transmit a visual image of another person in a bathroom or changing room.
- Knowingly promote (distribute, sell, disseminate) a photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission described by the above paragraphs.
Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 21.15(b)
It is also an offense to disclose visual material depicting another person’s intimate parts or sexual conduct without the consent of the depicted person and with the intention of harming that person. Also illegal is if during the disclosure, the person responsible for the disclosure knows or has reason to believe that the visual material was obtained or created under circumstances in which the depicted person had a reasonable expectation that the visual material would remain private. Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 21.16(b)
So for example, disclosing explicit material depicting your ex-partner, without your ex-partner’s consent is illegal.
Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 16.02: Recording a conversation in violation of Texas law is considered a felony.
Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 21.15(c); 21.16(g): Violating Texas video recording laws is a state jail felony punishable by imprisonment in state jail for 180 days to 2 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
More Texas Laws