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Can recordings be used in court?

Domestic violence cases are notorious for being he-said-she-said situations. Both victims and those falsely accused may wonder if recording phone conversations or in-person interactions could help their cases. However, recording or videotaping someone without their consent can actually lead to criminal penalties in the state of Colorado, so it's important to be aware of the laws and limitations.

When it comes to recording conversations, you only need the consent of one party. This means that if you are talking to the other person and are recording the conversation, that's legal because you know the conversation is being recorded. This also applies to in-person, over-the-phone and electronic communications, such as texts or emails. What's not allowed is if a third party records the conversation without you or the other person's knowledge.

Video recordings are handled a bit differently in Colorado. The law prohibits you from using hidden cameras to record any interactions in any place the other person has a reasonable expectation to privacy. This means that recording an incident in the person's home is not allowed, but recording an altercation that happens in a public parking lot would be.

While video or audio recorded proof can be very compelling to the courts, it's important to note that any evidence gathered through illegal means won't be admissible in the courts. If you have questions about what you can or cannot do and how best to gather the evidence needed for your case, talking to a lawyer who is experienced in handling domestic violence cases is the first step in moving forward.

Source: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, "Colorado," accessed Aug. 18, 2016

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