Can I record someone as evidence in my case? Is recording legal in Michigan?

I am often asked if it would help a case to record what is happening, this often comes up in divorce or child custody cases. The answer to this question is complex as recordings are very hard to admit into evidence. Whenever possible, I suggest getting something in writing versus recording. Not only is it hard to play a recording in Court, it is very difficult to get it admitted into evidence and could potentially get you into legal trouble.

We need to look at the Michigan Wiretapping Law where Michigan law makes it a crime to "use any device to eavesdrop upon a conversation without the consent of all parties." Mich. Comp. Laws §750.539c. If you plan on recording a conversation to which you are not a party, you must get the consent of all parties to that conversation. Especially if you intend to record conversations involving people located in more than one state, you should play it safe and get the consent of all parties, as laws vary across state lines.

Michigan Law also makes it a crime to "install, place or use in any private place, without the consent of the person entitled to privacy in that place, any device for observing, recording, transmitting, photographing or eavesdropping upon the sounds or events in that place." Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539d. A "private place" is defined as a place where a person "may reasonably expect to be safe from casual or hostile intrusion or surveillance but does not include a place to which the public or substantial group of the public has access." Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539a.

Michigan law also prohibits you from "using or divulging any information which you know or reasonably should know was obtained in violation of the wiretapping laws." Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539e.

However, this does not prohibit security monitoring in a residence if conducted by or at the direction of the owner or principal occupant of that residence unless conducted for a lewd or lascivious purpose. Which can be interpreted to mean that a security camera installed at your OWN residence, could be potentially not be criminal.

As you can see, recording conversations or other interactions can be risky and may be useless in your case. Violating these laws could not only expose you to criminal prosecution, but could also expose you to a potential civil lawsuit for money damages.

Discuss with your attorney how to best prepare for your case and what evidence can potentially be used. Attorney Allison Greenlee Korr handles cases in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and all surrounding counties, call today for a consultation. 269-381-4471


121 W Cedar Street

Kalamazoo, MI 49007

All information provided on this site should not be construed as legal advice.   Always meet with an attorney to find out your legal options.

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