When Is It Legal to Record a Conversation in Indiana?

A smartphone recording a conversation is propped up on a laptop keyboard

In Indiana, only one person in a conversation needs to be aware the conversation is being recorded for that recording to be legal. This is known as a one-party consent law. What does this law mean about recording a conversation? And is video recording different than audio recording? Let’s answer some of the most common questions about one-party consent and when it is legal to record a conversation in Indiana.

What Makes One-Party Consent Legal?

As long as the person hitting “record” is aware and part of the conversation, recording conversations is legal under Federal law as well as Indiana law. 

The reason one-party consent is legal is because sometimes the other person being aware of the recording would change their conduct or statements. Whether it’s a hostile work environment, a doctor admitting to negligence, or another type of abuse or misconduct, making the individual aware they are being recorded means they may act differently. 

However, at least one person active in the conversation or communication must be aware the conversation is being monitored. It is illegal to intercept or record a conversation without at least one of the parties being aware. Under the Indiana Wiretap Act, interception is defined as “intentional recording or acquisition of the contents of an electronic communication by a person other than a sender or receiver of that communication, without the consent of the sender or receiver […].” This means that as long as one person involved has consented, the conversation can be recorded legally.

Can I Be Punished for Recording a Conversation in Indiana?

Audio recording a conversation you are part of is always legal in Indiana. Many private businesses like doctor’s offices, retailers, or other organizations may post signs asking that visitors on the property do not record conversations. In the case of an audio recording, you still have a right to record even when these signs are posted. In fact, even if you ask to record the conversation and that request is denied, you can still legally record the conversation as long as you are one of the parties involved. This means even your employer cannot legally prohibit you from recording a conversation.

However, there may be other penalties for recording. A doctor, retailer, or other business would have the right to ask you to leave the premises or even prohibit you from returning in the future if they asked you not to record and you still did so. So, while you can’t be punished under the law for recording the audio of a conversation, you may still suffer other penalties. If you record a conversation with a doctor about someone else’s health information, you might violate HIPAA regulations about patient privacy if you share the recording.

Are Video and Audio Recordings the Same Under Indiana Law?

Once a video recording enters the question, the law around legal recording becomes much less clear. This is partially because privacy concerns are more obvious. It isn’t just the details of the conversation but also someone’s image that is being documented without their consent and perhaps shared without their knowledge.  

The question of whether it is allowed to take video of a conversation without the other person knowing depends in part on location. In the past, courts have ruled there isn’t a reasonable expectation of privacy when a conversation is being held in public. This is why so many videos are taken in public places of misconduct.

 However, once the conversation enters a private space, the rules may differ. For instance, while it may be legal to record an audio conversation with your doctor even if they have posted a sign asking not to be recorded, it would not be legal to take a video under the same circumstances. This is because a doctor’s office is a space with unique definitions of privacy under the law. However, Indiana does not have any video surveillance laws on the books as of yet, so the question of legal video recording remains a grey area that will no doubt become better defined in coming years.

When Should I Disclose I am Recording a Conversation?

Any time a conversation involves people located in multiple states, it’s important to let them know the conversation is being recorded. While federal law and many states align on one-party consent, some states require the consent of everyone in the conversation.

If you are taking video, it is also in your best interest to advise that you are videotaping, even in public. This protects you and allows the video to be used as future evidence more easily, because the other party cannot claim they were unaware the video recording was taking place.

Recording conversations with an employer, service provider, doctor, or other individuals may be an important way to document your experiences and protect yourself from future harm. It is important to know you have a right to record conversations in a one-party consent state, and that those recordings are admissible as evidence if you have been injured.

If you know negligence played a role in your injury, Christie Farrell Lee & Bell is the team to trust with your story. From listening to you to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. Contact our Indiana personal injury attorneys today to discuss your situation and start moving forward in life with peace of mind.