Can the police tape record you without your knowledge?

Asked over 4 years ago - San Bernardino, CA

Lets say you were a minor getting questioned by the police and hes taking a police report down, he has a tape recorder in his pocket thats on that he never told you about. Can that tape be used in court or do they use the tape to further write their police report to make it more detailed? Lets say you told the officer something during the police report and he pulls out a tape recorder saying "You gonna lie to me? I have it on tape". Thats how you knew he had a tape recorder. Is he just pulling the tape recorder out to scare you to tell the truth or is he really taping? This is in California by the way.

The main thing I want to know is if he can use the actual tape in court? He never told me he had one.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Robert Lee Marshall

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Yes, the tape can be used against you in court.

    California law prohibits taping of CONFIDENTIAL conversations without the consent of all parties involved. A reasonable person would not believe a conversation with a police officer, who is taking a report, would be confidential.

    If you are questioned by the police, here is the ONLY thing you should say: "Officer, I respectfully decline to speak with you. I wish to remain silent and have a lawyer present if you're going to ask any more questions.

    Please understand that this is a general discussion of legal principles by a California lawyer and does not create an attorney/client relationship. It's impossible to give detailed, accurate advice based on a few sentences on a website (and you shouldn't provide too much specific information about your legal matter on a public forum like this site, anyway). You should always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction who can give you an informed opinion after reviewing all of the relevant information.

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