Most Americans are unsure about the laws regarding video and audio evidence in trials. You may be vaguely aware that it is illegal to record someone without their consent in most states. But do these “wiretapping laws” apply in Massachusetts? What if you’re facing a trial related to domestic violence? Can your spouse or “alleged victim” use recordings and audio against you – even if you never consented to be recorded? The answer may surprise you:
The Basics of Wiretapping Laws in Massachusetts
Massachusetts follows a “two-party consent” system when it comes to recording people’s conversations. This means that it is illegal to secretly record a conversation unless everyone involved is made aware of the fact that they’re being recorded. They must also consent to being recorded. Once a person is made aware that they are being recorded, it is their responsibility to leave the conversation if they do not consent. Massachusetts is actually one of the strictest states in the nation when it comes to wiretapping laws.
So what does this mean for you as a defendant in a domestic violence case? If your spouse recorded you without your permission, this footage typically cannot be used against you in court. Whenever a law is broken in order to collect the evidence, the evidence becomes inadmissible.
Changes May Be Coming
With all of that said, the state is considering making changes to its wiretapping laws specifically for domestic violence cases. A statewide debate was sparked after a woman was criminally charged for illegally recording her husband. The footage she recorded showed her husband attempting to suffocate her with a pillow, according to a report from 2022. This prompted many lawmakers to consider changes to the legislation.
In March of 2023, it was reported that a new bill would allow domestic violence victims to secretly record their abusers without facing any consequences whatsoever. Although this law has not yet passed as of this writing, that day could soon arrive. In addition, a recent Supreme Court ruling has allowed the use of police body cameras in court against domestic violence defendants.
Where Can I Find an Experienced Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?
If you have been searching for a qualified defense attorney in Massachusetts, look no further than Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law. We know that it can be daunting to face accusations of assault and battery, domestic violence, and related crimes. This is especially true if your alleged victim is intent on using audio recordings and video footage against you in court. With our help, you can use a range of defense strategies to fight for your rights effectively. This may include having certain evidence thrown out of court. Book your consultation today to get started.