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Colorado Recording Laws

In general, the state of Colorado makes it legal to record conversations while in public or while you are a party in the call. Certain restrictions apply, which we’ll go over in the following article.

In addition, we’ll discuss the penalties associated with violating the state’s recording and privacy laws, as well as common defenses against illegal recording charges.

Denver Illegal Recording Defense Attorney

Knowing when it’s legal to record can be tricky. While the law is written fairly straightforward, actual implementation may be more difficult to understand. If you’ve been charged with illegal recording, or have had your camera, phone or recording device taken illegally, then you need to contact a strong criminal defense attorney.

The Law Office of Matthew Martin offers full-service legal representation to those accused of illegal recording and involved in invasion of privacy cases.

For more information and to schedule your first free consultation, call Matthew Martin at (303) 725-0017 today.

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Understanding Colorado’s Recording Laws

Colorado’s recording laws are generally straightforward, but do include a few nuances.

One-Party Consent

Colorado is a one-party consent state. This means that as long as one party to the conversation consents to the recording, it is generally legal. This applies to both in-person and electronic communications.

Some examples of legal recording include:

  • Private Conversations: If you’re part of a conversation, you can legally record it without informing the other parties.
  • Phone Calls: You can record phone calls if you are a party to the call.
  • Public Spaces: Recording in public spaces where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy is generally permissible.

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Illegal Recording

There are several instances in which recording is illegal. These include:

  • Wiretapping: Recording a phone call or other communication when you’re not a party to the conversation without consent.
  • Eavesdropping: Secretly recording a private conversation in which you are not involved.

Hidden Cameras

These restrictions extend to hidden cameras. Hidden cameras are legal on your property so long as you provide reasonable notice to the public, such as through a sign.

However, this does not extend to “intimate recordings” such as of a person’s private parts. Doing so is known as voyeurism and is illegal.

Recording the Police

It is always legal to record the police, so long as you do not interfere with their duties. This means that recording an arrest or what happens at an accident is legal, so long as you are not interfering. Law enforcement may disagree with what count as interference, however.

If the police illegally seize your phone, camera or recording device, you have grounds for a complaint. As a result of the complaint, you may receive damages, lawyer’s fees and money to replace the recording device.

Recording in the Workplace

It is generally not illegal to record conversations in the workplace. However, certain restrictions based on your employment contract may apply. Always check your company police and employment contract beforehand. That being said, there may be exceptions if you are a whistleblower.

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Illegal recording can vary from a misdemeanor to a felony offense. Recording a conversation which you are not a party to is known as eavesdropping, and is a Class 2 Misdemeanor. This is punishable by:

  • Up to 120 days in jail and/or
  • Fine of up to $750

Wiretapping, however, refers to listening into a telephone or electronic call without any party’s consent. Wiretapping is a Class 6 Felony, punishable by the following:

  • 12 to 18 months imprisonment and/or
  • Fine of up to $100,000

In addition to criminal charges, you may be liable for civil charges if the information you received from the conversation is used to damage a party’s reputation, represents stolen assets, or is otherwise used to damage one or both party’s business or reputation.

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Common Defenses

The following are a series of common defenses against illegal recording charges in Colorado.

  • Consent: Colorado only requires one party to consent to the recording. Your lawyer may focus on establishing that you had the consent of at least one person to record or listen in to the conversation.
  • Public Space: If the recording occurred in a public space where there was no expectation of privacy, it might not be considered illegal.
  • Legitimate Purpose: If the recording was made for a lawful purpose, such as for law enforcement or journalistic purposes, it could serve as a defense.
  • No Expectation of Privacy: If the person recorded had no reasonable expectation of privacy, it might not be considered illegal. This includes conversations made in public, but also shareholder calls and other conversations that may be made public.

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Additional Resources

Colorado Division of Real Estate – The Colorado Government outlines the state’s view of audio and video recording, as well as several scenarios where it may be unclear whether you have the right to record.

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Hire an Illegal Recording Defense Attorney in Denver, Colorado

For more information and to schedule your first free consultation, call Matthew Martin at (303) 725-0017 today.

Matthew Martin accepts clients throughout the greater Denver area including Jefferson County, Douglas County, Arapahoe County, Broomfield County, Adams County, and Boulder County.

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