SURVEILLANCE – WHAT IS LEGAL AND WHAT ISN’T?
Divorce And Family Attorney | Ellijay Ga
Family Law clients often come to us and ask how they can obtain evidence on their spouse - they may have a suspicion, but are in need of proof to present to the Court. What is the next step in building your case? What are you permitted to do and what is illegal?
Georgia is a one-party consent state regarding recording devices. This means at least one party to the conversation must know the conversation is being recorded. In practice, this means if you are your spouse are having an argument, you are legally allowed to turn on a recorder, or open the recording app on your phone and start recording the conversation. This recording will often times be permitted by the Court as evidence. This may be helpful for you, especially if an opposing party makes an admission. However, even if no admission is made, a recording of your conversation may be used to protect you from false allegations.
The next question we often receive is whether a recording device can be left behind or hidden in secret to record conversations the recording individual is not party to. My immediately response is NO, NO, and Absolutely NO. Leaving a device behind to surreptitiously record the conversations of others is a violation of the Georgia Law and few exceptions exist to Georgia’s one-party rule. This means that not only will any evidence obtained likely be inadmissible, illegally recording someone is a crime under O.C.G.A 16-11-62 and may be punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.00.
There is an alternative though – A private investigator may be able to obtain similar evidence, legally. While a private investigator may be costly, there can be significant advantages to obtaining evidence and ultimately may lead to an expeditious resolution, saving you legal fees and expenses.
In sum, obtaining evidence illegally is absolutely useless - Not only can your Georgia Family Law Attorney not use illegally obtained evidence, you are committing a crime which can lead to your arrest.
Do not take matters into your own hands. Call Teague Law and speak with an experienced Ellijay Divorce Attorney today to discuss your options and ensure you obtain any helpful information legally.