Is it Illegal to Record Others in New Jersey? | Zegas Law (2024)

September 9, 2019



Everyone has access to photography and recording tools today. But, this brings up many concerns about personal privacy and confidentiality. If you snap a photo or record a video of a stranger, do you have the right to share that video? What if that video is a recording of a close friend? These concerns will become more commonplace as recording becomes an even easier part of our technological world.

The answer is, it depends. Additionally, you will find that the federal laws and state laws do not always match up.

United States Recording Laws

The United States federal laws require that at least one person is aware and has given consent to the recording. It is assumed that the person who is doing the recording has already given their consent because they took the necessary steps to set up the recording device, which would mean that it is legal for them to record, even if the other person is not aware of it.

Of course, there are exceptions to be aware of when considering this law. There are certain topics that may complicate the laws including:

  • Threats
  • Blackmail
  • Topics of illegal activity

New Jersey Laws

Many of the U.S. states follow the same rules and regulations that are set by the federal government when it comes to recording. The state of New Jersey is one of these states. Similar to federal rules, New Jersey requires the consent of at least one party. These rules do not apply to video recordings. Rules and regulations, even in New Jersey, tend to be stricter when video recordings are present. There are a few locations in which video recordings are strictly prohibited which include bathrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, and any other private area.

Determining what is considered private can get complicated. While bathrooms are obviously private, there can be some questions raised concerning a friend’s house or vehicle.

Distributing Illegal Recording or Video Consequences

If a person distributes an illegal recording or video with the knowledge that it is illegal, then they may face expensive fines and potential jail time. Laws like the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act applies to states like New Jersey and call into question the intention of the person making the recording.

When a person knows that the recording was illegal and they still choose to distribute the recording, then they are likely in violation of this act and may face criminal charges.

New Jersey Civil Charges

It is also possible to face civil legal charges when recording or videoing without consent. In New Jersey, this is considered a violation of the Invasion of Privacy Act. Because this is a civil crime in New Jersey, the guilty party may not only be responsible for serving federal time, but also for compensating the injured party.

Navigating Your Legal Case

As you can see, federal and state laws can get complicated when it comes to recording and videoing. If you were charged with recording without someone’s consent or you are concerned about the legality of a recording, reach out to one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers at Zegas Law.

Contact an Experienced Summit Criminal Defense Lawyer About New Jersey’s Privacy Laws

Were you charged with invasion of privacy? You may have legal options available. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. Zegas Law represents clients in Summit, Mountainside, Maplewood, Chatham Township, and throughout New Jersey. Call (973) 379-1999 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of Zegas Law today. We have an office conveniently located at 60 Morris Turnpike, Summit, NJ 07901.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

Is it Illegal to Record Others in New Jersey? | Zegas Law (2024)


Is it Illegal to Record Others in New Jersey? | Zegas Law? ›

If you are not a party to the conversation, a "one-party consent" law will allow you to record the conversation or phone call so long as your source consents and has full knowledge that the communication will be recorded. Remember that this is just for the Garden State.

Is it legal to record someone without their knowledge in NJ? ›

New Jersey's wiretapping law is a "one-party consent" law. New Jersey makes it a crime to intercept or record an in-person or telephone conversation unless one party to the conversation consents. N.J. Stat. §§ 2A:156A-3, -4.

What is the invasion of privacy law in New Jersey? ›

Under New Jersey law, invasion of privacy is a crime. The degree of the crime depends on the specific conduct involved, as follows: Observing without consent — It is a fourth-degree crime to observe another person without their knowledge or consent in a private setting where they would not expect to be observed.

Can security cameras record audio in NJ? ›

One-party consent laws: For the audio recording of private conversations, this law (18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(d))2 allows recording of phone calls or, most importantly for home security cameras, in-person conversations with the consent of at least one of the parties.

What is the New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act? ›

The New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act (“Act”), N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-1 et seq., is the law that regulates how and when an electronic interception or recording of communications may be conducted by the government, including state and local law enforcement.

Can I record a conversation between me and my boss? ›

Under Federal law, it is legal to record a conversation as long as one-party gives consent to the recording. This is known as a “one-party” consent rule.

Is it legal to record police in NJ? ›

At the Forrester Law Firm, a common question we hear is about whether an individual can record a police officer. In New Jersey, it is legal to capture videos and audio recordings of a law enforcement encounter on your cell phone or through other means.

What are the four types of invasion of privacy law? ›

Those four types are 1) intrusion on a person's seclusion or solitude; 2) public disclosure of embarrassing private facts about a person; 3) publicity that places a person in a false light in the public eye; and 4) appropriation, for the defendant's advantage, of the person's name or likeness.

Can you sue for invasion of privacy in New Jersey? ›

Under New Jersey law, several things can constitute an invasion of privacy, and the state must show that one of the three following things occurred: The defendant observes another person without the person's consent and under circ*mstances where a reasonable person would not expect to be observed.

What is an example of invasion of privacy law? ›

These examples can include physical acts, such as secretly recording someone's phone calls, or even the use of video recorders. Other examples of invasion of privacy include peeping through a window, secretly listening in on private conversations, and stealing personal information.

What to do when someone is recording you? ›

If you realize someone is recording you without your permission in a public setting, there isn't much you can do but ask them to stop or leave. If this is a recurring occurrence with a certain individual, you can call the police or choose to sue if you have legal grounds for it.

Is it illegal to video record your neighbors property with a security cam NJ? ›

For the most part, your neighbor is legally allowed to have security cameras installed on their property, even if those cameras are aimed at your property. However, your neighbor does not have the right to record you or anyone else without consent in areas with reasonable expectation of privacy.

Is it illegal to post a video of someone without their permission? ›

If you discover that someone posted either photos or videos of you or your family on a social media site without your permission, the first thing to know is that it is illegal. Keep in mind that every platform has a different privacy policy, so the individual that posts may think they did nothing wrong.

What are examples of illegal surveillance? ›

This can include hacking into someone's email or social media accounts, installing hidden cameras or microphones in their home or workplace, or intercepting their phone calls or text messages without their knowledge or consent.

What right does surveillance violate? ›

Violates the Fourth Amendment, which says the government cannot conduct a search without obtaining a warrant and showing probable cause to believe that the person has committed or will commit a crime.

What three kinds of communications are protected by the wiretap act? ›

Title III requires Federal, state and, other government officials to obtain judicial authorization for intercepting "wire, oral, and electronic" communications such as telephone conversations and e-mails. It also regulates the use and disclosure of information obtained through authorized wiretapping. 18 U.S.C.

Can you record without letting someone know? ›

Under California law, it is a crime punishable by fine and/or imprisonment to record a confidential conversation without the consent of all parties, or without a notification of the recording to the parties via an audible beep at specific intervals.

How is consent determined in NJ? ›

According to the Statutory Rape law, anyone between 13 years old and 15 years old (a day before their 16th birthday) cannot consent to engage in sexual activity with anyone who is more than 4 years older than them. This is determined by the exact date of birth of both parties.


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