Companies like Ring make doorbells that allow video and audio to be recorded when motion is detected near your front door. It is now easier than ever to install security cameras in different rooms of your house to keep an eye on your pets or property while you are away. This technology may help you catch a thief, but could it also result in you facing criminal charges?
California is a two-way consent state, meaning both parties need to agree to a video or audio recording. So, do these cameras violate wiretapping laws because the other party is unaware he or she is being recorded?
Ring Doorbell Cameras and the Expectation of Privacy
Doorbell cameras and similar devices are subject to guidelines regarding a person’s “reasonable expectation of privacy.” In a public place, such as a store, a street or the front yard of a home, people do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The front door area of a home where a Ring doorbell camera records video is not a place where most people expect privacy. Thus, you will not likely face criminal charges for using a Ring doorbell.
There is a reasonable expectation of privacy in a bedroom or bathroom of a home, so you should refrain from placing security cameras in these areas. However, you may be pleased to know that when burglars enter your home, they have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
Audio, however, is a different matter.
Do Ring Doorbells Violate Wiretapping Laws? (PC 632)
Wiretapping laws under California Penal Code Section 632 require that you receive consent from a person to record his or her voice. The law also states that it is illegal to record a “confidential communication,” which is any communication meant to be heard only by the parties involved.
If you are using a Ring doorbell camera, the simplest way to avoid facing wiretapping charges under PC 632 is to turn off audio recording. If you don’t want to do that, it may be a good idea to notify friends, family and mail carriers that their voice may be recorded when they are near your front door.
Though it is illegal under California wiretapping laws to record another person without his or her knowledge and consent, most people use doorbell cameras for security purposes. Unless you are deliberately using a recording for exploitive or commercial purposes, you face little risk of facing charges for violating wiretapping laws through your everyday use of a doorbell camera.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been accused of violating California wiretapping laws, it is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients against wiretapping charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our law firm today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.