Note: This page covers information specific to Florida. For general information concerning the use of recording devices see the Recording Phone Calls, Conversations, Meetings and Hearings section of this guide.
Florida Wiretapping Law
Florida's wiretapping law is a "two-party consent" law. Florida makes it a crime to intercept or record a "wire, oral, or electronic communication" in Florida, unless all parties to the communication consent. See Fla. Stat. ch. 934.03. Florida law makes an exception for in-person communications when the parties do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the conversation, such as when they are engaged in conversation in a public place where they might reasonably be overheard. If you are operating in Florida, you may record these kinds of in-person conversations without breaking the law. However, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording any telephone conversation and any in-person that common sense tells you is private.
In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the Florida wiretapping law can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party.
Consult The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's Can We Tape?: Florida for more information on Florida wiretapping law.
Florida Law on Recording Court Hearings and Public Meetings
Florida state courts generally allow the use of recording devices in the courtroom, both at the trial and appellate level. The presiding judge may prohibit recording devices from the courtroom only upon a showing that the presence of such devices will adversely affect the fairness or integrity of the proceedings.
Federal courts in Florida generally prohibit the use of recording devices and cameras in the courtroom, both at the trial and the appellate level.
For information on your right of access to court proceedings, please consult the Access to Government Information section of the guide.
If you attend a public meeting (i.e., a meeting of a governmental body required to be open to the public by law) in Florida, generally you are permitted to use sound or video recording devices, so long as your recording does not disrupt the meeting.
For information on your right of access to public meetings, please consult the Access to Government Information section of this guide and The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's Open Government Guide: Florida.