Skip to content

Criminal penalties

Posts

  • Alabama

    Unlawfully recording a conversation is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $6,000 fine. Ala. Code §§ 13A-5-7; 13A-5-12.

    Criminal surveillance and disclosing information obtained through these methods are misdemeanors carrying a maximum jail sentence of six months and a fine of $3,000. Ala. Code §§ 13A-5-7; 13A-5-12. Installing an eavesdropping device on private property is considered a felony offense carrying a prison sentence between one and 10 years and a potential fine up to $15,000. Ala. Code § 13A-11-33.

    view more
  • Alaska

    Violation of the eavesdropping statute — including by disclosing illegally obtained information — is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to a year in jail. Alaska Stat. Ann. §§ 42.20.330; 12.55.135. Additionally, those convicted of the statute face a fine of up to $25,000. Alaska Stat. Ann. § 12.55.035.

    The crime of indecent viewing of photography is a misdemeanor if the subject viewed is an adult, and a felony if the subject is a minor. Alaska Stat. Ann. § 11.61.123(f).

    view more
  • Arizona

    Intercepting the contents of any in-person, telephone or electronic communication without the consent of at least one party is a felony. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3005. Violation of the state’s hidden camera law is also a felony. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3019(D).

    Punishment can range from court fines to sentences of anywhere from six months to more than two years in prison. See Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 13-702, 13-801.

    view more
  • Arkansas

    Intercepting or recording in-person, telephone or electronic communications in violation of the law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-401. In addition, the court may impose fines of up to $2,500. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-201.

    Violation of the state’s video voyeurism law is a felony punishable by up to six years in prison. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-401. The court may also impose fines of up to $10,000. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-201.

    view more
  • California

    A first offense of eavesdropping or wiretapping is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 or imprisonment for up to one year. Cal. Penal Code §§ 631, 632. Subsequent offenses carry a maximum fine of $10,000 and jail sentence of up to one year. Id.

    Disclosing the contents of recorded or overheard telephone conversations could lead to fines of up to $5,000 and one year in jail, but only if the person making the disclosure was not a party to the conversation. Cal. Penal Code § 637. The law prohibiting disclosure of telephone conversations does not apply to people who are parties to the conversation. Id.

    Violation of the state’s hidden camera law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Cal. Penal Code § 19. Subsequent offenses carry a maximum $2,000 fine and up to one year in jail. Cal. Penal Code § 647(l).

    The state’s vehicle code provides for penalties of up to six months in jail and fines of up to $2,500. Cal. Veh. Code § 40008(a).

    The anti-paparazzi law is a civil statute that does not have any criminal penalties.

    view more
  • Colorado

    Disclosure of information obtained illegally and violations of the state’s wiretapping statute are both felonies punishable by a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000 and one to two years in jail. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401.

    Recording communications from a cordless telephone, however, is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and six to 18 months in jail. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-501.

    Violations of the eavesdropping statute carry similar penalties, while violators of the state’s hidden camera law can face misdemeanor charges carrying a sentence of up to one year in jail and fines up to $1,000. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-9-304.

    view more
  • Connecticut

    Violation of the state’s eavesdropping and voyeurism laws, as well as the dissemination of images in violation of the law, are all felonies punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a fine up to $5,000. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-35a, -41.

    view more
  • Delaware

    Violations of the wiretapping statute—which requires one party’s consent for recording or disclosing any private communication—are felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 2402(b).

    Violations of the privacy law—which requires consent of all parties to intercept or record private communications and prohibits the installation of a hidden recording device in a private place—are generally misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,300. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 4206(a).

    The provision barring the taking of photo images of individuals undressing in a private place is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 4205(a).

    view more
  • District of Columbia

    Recording or distributing the contents of any recordings of communications made without proper consent can be punished criminally by a fine of no more than $12,500 or imprisonment for up to five years, or both. D.C. Code § 23-542.

    Violating the District’s voyeurism law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and fines of up to $2,500. D.C. Code § 22-3531(f).

    Distribution of images in violation of the District’s voyeurism law is a felony punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and fines not more than $12,500. D.C. Code § 22-3531(f)(2).

    view more
  • Florida

    Intercepting or recording a private conversation or disclosing or trying to disclose such a recording without the consent of all parties is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines, unless the interception is a first offense committed without any illegal purpose, and not for commercial gain. Fla. Stat. § 934.03(4)(a). In those circumstances, then, such an infraction is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. Fla. Stat. § 934.03(4)(b).

    Adults taking or distributing images in violation of the state’s video voyeurism law could face felony charges of up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Fla. Stat. § 810.145.

    view more
  • Georgia

    Violation of any provisions of the statute is a felony and carries a penalty of imprisonment between one and five years or a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-69.

    view more
  • Hawaii

    Unlawful recordings, interceptions or disclosures of in-person, telephone or electronic communications under the eavesdropping law are felonies punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 706-640, -660. Similar penalties are in place for the installation of hidden cameras when the person is in a “stage of undress or sexual activity.” Id. Otherwise, installing devices to record sounds or images in private places without proper consent is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 706-640, -663. Further, the court may order the destruction of recordings made in violation of the privacy law. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1110.9(2), -1111.

    Violators of the state’s sexual assault law and those secretly taking images of individuals underneath their clothing can also be punished by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Rev. Stat. §§ 706-640, -663.

    view more
  • Idaho

    Illegally recording, intercepting or disclosing oral, wire or electronic communications is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and as much as $5,000 in fines. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6702. Violation of the state’s video voyeurism laws carry penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment and $50,000 in fines. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-112.

    view more
  • Illinois

    Violations of the eavesdropping and video recording laws are punishable as felonies with one to three years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine, with greater penalties for subsequent offenses. 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/14-4; 730 Ill. Compiled Stat. § 5-4.5-45, -50.

    Under the eavesdropping statute, penalties are also greater with a possible prison term of two to five years and a fine up to $25,000 if one of the illegally recorded individuals is a law enforcement officer, attorney general, state’s attorney, assistant state’s attorney or judge “while in the performance of his or her official duties.” 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/14-4(b); 730 Ill. Compiled Stat. § 5-4.5-40. The law — and thus any penalties — do not apply, however, to recordings of any conversations in which these officials do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/14-1, -2, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which includes Illinois, has found a First Amendment right to openly record police officers performing their duties in public. ACLU of Illinois v. Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583 (7th Cir. 2012).

    view more
  • Indiana

    Knowingly or intentionally intercepting a communication in violation of Indiana’s interception law is a felony punishable by one to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-33.5-5-5(b).

    Misdemeanor violations of the state’s surveillance and video voyeurism laws are punishable by one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-3-2. A felony charge of the voyeurism law carries penalties of six months to three years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-7.

    view more
  • Iowa

    Felony charges under the state’s “Interception of Communications” law carry penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment and a $750 to $7,500 fine. Iowa Code Ann. § 902.9.

    Violations of the eavesdropping law are serious misdemeanors carrying penalties of up to one year in jail and a $315 to $1,875 fine. Iowa Code Ann. § 903.1.

    Aggravated misdemeanors under the privacy law can be punished by up to two years in prison and a fine of $650 to $6,250. Id.

    view more
  • Kansas

    Illegally recording, intercepting or divulging the contents of any private communications is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a court fine of up to $2,500. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6602, -6611.

    Secretly taking video images in violation of the law is a felony punishable by 15 to 17 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000, with even harsher penalties for disseminating the images. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21--6611, -6804.

    view more
  • Kentucky

    Recording or intercepting oral or wire communications in violation of the state’s eavesdropping law, or distributing images in violation of the state’s video voyeurism law are felony offenses punishable by one to five years in prison and a $1,000 to $10,000 fine. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 532.060, 534.030.

    Violations of the state’s voyeurism law or distributing information obtained illegally through eavesdropping are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 532.090, 534.040.

    view more
  • Louisiana

    A violation of the state’s Electronic Surveillance Act, whether by recording or disclosing the contents of a communication without proper consent, carries a prison sentence of two to 10 years of hard labor and a $10,000 fine. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15:1303.

    Violation of the state’s video voyeurism law can be punishable by a prison sentence anywhere from two to five years of hard labor and a $10,000 fine. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:283(B).

    view more
  • Maine

    Illegally recording or disclosing the contents of an oral or telephone conversation is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17-A, §§ 1604, 1704.

    Violation of the state’s privacy law is a Class D crime punishable by a jail sentence of less than one year and a $2,000 fine. Id.

    view more
  • Maryland

    Violations of the wiretap law are felonies punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years and a fine of not more than $10,000. Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-402(b).

    Violators of the hidden camera law can face misdemeanor charges with penalties that include up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Md. Crim. Law §§ 3-901, -902, -903.

    view more
  • Massachusetts

    Illegally eavesdropping or recording on an in-person or telephone conversation is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a jail sentence of up to five years. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 99(C). Disclosing or using the contents of such communications is a misdemeanor punishable with a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment for up to two years. Id.

    Secretly filming or taking photos of another person in the nude without consent is punishable by imprisonment of up to two-and-a-half years and a $5,000 fine. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 105(b). Distribution of such videos or photos is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 105(c).

    view more
  • Michigan

    Violations of the eavesdropping or hidden camera laws can be punished as a felony carrying a jail term of up to two years and a fine of up to $2,000. Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 750.539c, 539d, 540.

    Anyone who divulges information they know or reasonably should know was obtained through illegal eavesdropping is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to two years and a fine of up to $2,000. Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539e.

    Anyone who distributes, disseminates or transmits a recording, photograph or video they know or reasonably should know was obtained in violation of the hidden camera laws is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000. Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 750.539d, 539j.

    view more
  • Minnesota

    Unlawful recordings, or disclosure of their contents when there is reason to know the information was obtained illegally, carry maximum penalties of imprisonment for five years and fines of $20,000. Minn. Stat. § 626A.02(4).

    Violation of the state’s hidden camera law is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a $3,000 fine. Minn. Stat. §§ 609.03, 609.746.

    view more
  • Mississippi

    Illegally intercepting communications can be punished as misdemeanors with jail sentences up to one year and fines of up to $10,000. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-533. Disclosing the contents of such intercepted communications is a felony punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines. Id.

    Filming or photographing a person in violation of the state’s hidden camera law carries a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment and a $5,000 fine, but the maximum prison sentence doubles if the subject being recorded is a child less than 16 years of age. Miss. Code Ann. § 97-29-63.

    view more
  • Missouri

    Illegally recording an in-person conversation or wire communication is a felony offense, subject to up to four years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Mo. Ann. Stat. §§ 558.002, 558.011.

    Violations of the hidden camera law are misdemeanors subject to up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine, id., though recordings that involve more than one person or the disclosure of any illegal recording results in a felony.

    view more
  • Montana

    Illegally recording an in-person or telephone conversation or electronic communication is a misdemeanor offense, and penalties increase with each conviction of the law, beginning with up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213(4).

    A violation of the hidden camera law is subject to up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, with harsher penalties for subsequent offenses. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-223(4).

    view more
  • Nebraska

    Illegally recording an in-person or telephone conversation or electronic communication is generally a felony subject to up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, but the unlawful recording of certain types of statutorily designated communications by radio — such as the radio portion of a cellphone conversation — is only a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine, if the recording is the violator’s first violation of the law. Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 28-105, -106.

    Making recordings or images in violations of the state’s hidden camera law is a felony subject to up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, while disclosures of those recordings or images range from a misdemeanor, subject up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine, to a felony subject to up to 20 years in prison. Id.

    view more
  • Nevada

    Illegally recording or disclosing an in-person or telephone conversation is a felony offense punishable with one to four years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 193.130, 200.690.

    The first violation of the hidden camera law is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000, with greater penalties for subsequent violations. Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 193.140, 200.604.

    view more
  • New Hampshire

    A person who records an in-person or telephone conversation with the consent of only one party is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 570-A:11, 651:2. Otherwise, illegally recording or disclosing in-person or telephone conversations without the consent of all parties is a felony offense, subject to seven years in prison and a $4,000 fine. Id.

    view more
  • New Jersey

    Illegally recording, disclosing or using the contents of an in-person or telephone conversation or electronic communication is a crime of the third degree punishable by three to five years in prison and a fine of $15,000. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2C:43-3, 43-6.

    Penalties for violations of the hidden camera law vary but can include up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Id. In addition to those penalties, those who illegally disclose images may be fined up to $30,000. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:14-9.

    view more
  • New York

    Illegally recording an in-person, telephone or electronic communication is a felony offense punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 70.00, 80.00.

    Violations of New York’s hidden camera law are also felonies carrying the same potential penalties, with enhanced penalties for those previously convicted within the past 10 years. Id. Felony disclosures under the hidden camera law are punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine, while misdemeanor violations are subject to up to 364 days in prison and a fine of $1,000. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 70.15, 80.05.

    view more
  • Pennsylvania

    Illegally recording an in-person, telephone or electronic communication is a felony offense, punishable by up to seven years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 1101, 1103, 5703.

    Violation of the hidden camera law is a misdemeanor, subject to up to a year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 1101, 1104, 7507.1.

    view more