A Broward County woman spent the night in jail after she admitted to a Deputy that she was audio recording the traffic stop. The Deputy accused the woman of committing a felony and demanded she give him the phone. When she refused, the Deputy entered the passenger side of her car, physically assaulted her and the encounter ended with her spending a night in jail. Since the incident, the charges have been dropped, and she is suing the department for violations of her liberties. Courts have upheld the right of citizens to record officers on the job.
As a former Special Prosecutor of Economic Crimes including enforcement of the “Security of Communications Act” of Florida, under which this crime falls, Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer Malcolm Anthony has had extensive experience in handling unlawful recording cases. Florida is a dual consent state when it comes to recording conversations. All parties must consent. Under Florida’s eavesdropping law, Fla. Stat. § 934.03(2)(d), all parties to any confidential communication must give permission to be recorded. However, consent is not required for the taping of oral communications where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. According to Fla. Stat. § 934.02, oral communications include “any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation and does not mean any public oral communication uttered at a public meeting or any electronic communication.”
Criminal penalties for recording without consent of all parties is a third degree felony. It is punishable by up to five (5) years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, unless the interception is a first offense committed without any illegal purpose. According to the Florida Statutes, intercept “means the aural or other acquisition of the contents of any wire, electronic, or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device.”
Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer advises individuals not to be intimidated by law enforcement officers. Recording an officer is not illegal. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy to oral communications made on the side of the road.
Here is a local report of the story: