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A police officer can tape a conversation with you and may be able to use that recording against you in a court of law.

If your general sense is that this shouldn’t be allowed, you are correct. Private individuals in the State of Maryland cannot record conversations, or “wiretap,” without the consent of both parties. However, exceptions are made for investigative or law enforcement officers acting in a criminal investigation or individuals under the supervision of an investigative or law enforcement officer. They may intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication in order to provide evidence of the commission of several specific crimes.

The police are allowed to wiretap as evidence of murder, kidnapping, rape, gambling, robbery, bribery, extortion, drug dealing, insurance fraud, or in hostage cases.

There is also an exception for Dashcams in police cruisers during traffic stops, but only if the police officer notifies the one being recorded of its existence. Therefore, if you hear later from your attorney that there was a Dashcam and you never knew about it, definitely advise your attorney of this, as the officer may have acted improperly.

If you are wondering whether 911 calls may be recorded and possibly used in court, the answer is most certainly yes. Conversations “concerning an emergency” may be recorded.

An interesting fact exists concerning whether body wires may be worn by police officers. They may if its reasonable to think the officer’s safety is in jeopardy, but those communications may not be recorded and may not be used against a Defendant in a criminal proceeding. For this exception, feel free to envision a group of police officers “staked out” in a parked van close by, waiting for the undercover cop to be endangered.

As you can see, there are many situations where a police officer may be recording your statements. Please be aware and make sure your attorney is aware of the many different fact patterns under which this issue may arise.

Peter Casciano
Attorney at Law
Andalman & Flynn, P.C.
8601 Georgia Avenue, Suite 604
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 563-6685 phone
(301) 563-6681 fax