Legal ramifications of having a dashcam

Discussion in 'Legal Questions' started by sludgeguts, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. sludgeguts

    sludgeguts Well-Known Member

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  2. randy

    randy Active Member

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    This is the law in North Carolina (one party state)....see below for my comments. (I like this post!)

    ยง 15A-287. Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited.

    (a) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Article, a person is guilty of a Class H felony if, without the consent of at least one party to the communication, the person:

    (1) Willfully intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication.

    (2) Willfully uses, endeavors to use, or procures any other person to use or endeavor to use any electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept any oral communication when:

    a. The device is affixed to, or otherwise transmits a signal through, a wire, cable, or other like connection used in wire communications; or

    b. The device transmits communications by radio, or interferes with the transmission of such communications.

    (3) Willfully discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through violation of this Article; or

    (4) Willfully uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any wire or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire or oral communication in violation of this Article.

    (b) It is not unlawful under this Article for any person to:

    (1) Intercept or access an electronic communication made through an electronic communication system that is configured so that the electronic communication is readily accessible to the general public;

    (2) Intercept any radio communication which is transmitted:

    a. For use by the general public, or that relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress;

    b. By any governmental, law enforcement, civil defense, private land mobile, or public safety communication system, including police and fire, readily available to the general public;

    c. By a station operating on any authorized band within the bands allocated to the amateur, citizens band, or general mobile radio services; or

    d. By any marine or aeronautical communication system; or

    (3) Intercept any communication in a manner otherwise allowed by Chapter 119 of the United States Code.

    (c) It is not unlawful under this Article for an operator of a switchboard, or an officer, employee, or agent of a provider of electronic communication service, whose facilities are used in the transmission of a wire or electronic communication, to intercept, disclose, or use that communication in the normal course of employment while engaged in any activity that is a necessary incident to the rendition of his or her service or to the protection of the rights or property of the provider of that service, provided that a provider of wire or electronic communication service may not utilize service observing or random monitoring except for mechanical or service quality control checks.

    (d) It is not unlawful under this Article for an officer, employee, or agent of the Federal Communications Commission, in the normal course of his employment and in discharge of the monitoring responsibilities exercised by the Commission in the enforcement of Chapter 5 of Title 47 of the United States Code, to intercept a wire or electronic communication, or oral communication transmitted by radio, or to disclose or use the information thereby obtained.

    (e) Any person who, as a result of the person's official position or employment, has obtained knowledge of the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication lawfully intercepted pursuant to an electronic surveillance order or of the pendency or existence of or implementation of an electronic surveillance order who shall knowingly and willfully disclose such information for the purpose of hindering or thwarting any investigation or prosecution relating to the subject matter of the electronic surveillance order, except as is necessary for the proper and lawful performance of the duties of his position or employment or as shall be required or allowed by law, shall be guilty of a Class G felony.

    (f) Any person who shall, knowingly or with gross negligence, divulge the existence of or contents of any electronic surveillance order in a way likely to hinder or thwart any investigation or prosecution relating to the subject matter of the electronic surveillance order or anyone who shall, knowingly or with gross negligence, release the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication intercepted under an electronic surveillance order, except as is necessary for the proper and lawful performance of the duties of his position or employment or as is required or allowed by law, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

    (g) Any public officer who shall violate subsection (a) or (d) of this section or who shall knowingly violate subsection (e) of this section shall be removed from any public office he may hold and shall thereafter be ineligible to hold any public office, whether elective or appointed. (1995, c. 407, s. 1.)

    Just my thoughts: The only applicable section is (a)(1). The key words are willfully and endeavors. Its not our goal to voluntarily record their conversation, but to video them to make sure they are taking care of our property like they are supposed to. My biggest thing is that I don't anticipate a conversation to take place inside of the vehicle between two people for routine work like an oil change...one person may get in to do something brief. If I leave my windows down, that may change things, but I don't, and I am not able to hear them when I leave them up for the most part. My last thought is I simply don't think a business would want to pursue charges against a customer for this, especially if they were caught doing something wrong, as that would be a public relations nightmare for them.
     
  3. SawMaster

    SawMaster Well-Known Member

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    Laws regarding audio recording are different in each state and sometimes even in smaller jurisdictions (counties and cities). Its a real minefield where an urbanites daily driving could have several laws applied according to where they are, so my suggestion us "audio off" unless you know you are being legal. If you want to record audio anyway, get a small digital audio recorder and record that separately- here's why:

    Some places will not allow evidence to be entered if any part of that evidence does not meet the legal standards, so if you or anybody else removes the audio to make a video legally admissible, you've altered the evidence and it will definitely not be allowed then. Having it on a separate device allows you to use it's audio where that's legal and does no harm to other evidence where it's not, and you don't have to mention that in court unless you're asjed directly about it.

    'Open Mic' laws allow recording of anyone in pubic with or without their knowledge or consent.
    '1 party' laws allow recording as long as one person (you or them) knows audio is being recorded'. That can change between public and private settings.
    '2 party' laws means whoever is being recorded must know (and can change between public and private to)

    "Knowledge' as I've used it here also varies:
    'Implied consent' can be obtained by use of signs which usually have specific requirements given for size and placement.
    'Direct consent' means that the parties being recorded must be notified of it, and sometimes may be able to legally deny you permission to record audio of them.

    "Consent' can also vary from them being notified as the applicable law requires and them giving no response or a positive one verbally, or that may need to be in writing with their signature (or proper consent of their legal guardian). A signed witness may be required too. There are also places where no audio recordings are allowed at all except in private within any of the variation above required to make that legal. And sometimes the purpose of audio being recorded can make it legal or illegal.

    Now you can see the many possible variations and possible combinations of laws regards audio recording. Some of those laws make it a Felony Offense to break them :eek: Since Attorney-Client interactions are privileged, that is the only person you should inform of your audio recording unless you are gaining proper consent where its required. And do what your Attorney suggests regards this ;) Video recordings in public are generally legal (see "Glik v Cuniffe" for details) but audio is a minefield full of traps, which is why it's easier and safer to just keep it completely separated from your video :cool:

    Phil
     
  4. Daleg

    Daleg Active Member

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    I wouldn't worry about using two different recording devices.....if the video is acceptable and the audio is not....turn down the volume. If the audio is acceptable and the video is not....volume on....monitor off. No altered evidence....no issue.
     
  5. SawMaster

    SawMaster Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't work like that in the US. If illegal audio was recorded, the opposing counsel (who will have been given a true and full copy of the whole original recording during discovery) will move to have the evidence rejected on the grounds that a part of it is illegal which the court must then grant. I've been through and around the legal system long enough to know whereof I am speaking :rolleyes: It's a nasty unfair game they play, and you better know how to play it and win if you're going to be involved ;)

    Phil
     
  6. Rajagra

    Rajagra Well-Known Member

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    Surely another key word is intercept.
    Recording is not the same as intercepting.
    If you are able to hear something with your own ears, and your camera records the same, then nothing is being intercepted.
     
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  7. SawMaster

    SawMaster Well-Known Member

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    It's best to not make those assumptions. The definition of the words in this statute and their application in Law rests solely on what has been applied in preceding cases, and the way Lawyers twist things anything is possible :( I no longer have my paralegal friend living there or I'd get us a legally sound opinion with case references ;) Lacking that I'd prefer to play it safe :cool: YMMV

    Phil
     
  8. Rajagra

    Rajagra Well-Known Member

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    Can't argue with that, but it is clear that what started as a perfectly reasonable and well defined law is now being applied to situations completely distinct from the original definition and intent. And this change was not necessarily deliberate.
    It's like Chinese whispers; with each new interpretation, some of the original meaning is lost, and new opportunities are created for fresh, ever more creative interpretations.
     
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