Can I legally record communications of my spouse?

Under Maryland Wiretap law, it is illegal for ordinary citizens to willfully intercept, endeavor to intercept, or procure another to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral or electronic communications, absent consent of the parties involved.

There is no Wiretap exception for nonconsensual oral surveillance between spouses. However, video-only surveillance or “Nanny-cams,” are legal in Maryland.

A person leaving a voicemail message or otherwise on notice of the recording is deemed to consent by allowing the recording. Except telephone conversations, oral conversations must have a reasonable expectation of privacy to be protected from interception (e.g. conversations in a place and manner where one expects not to be overheard). However, overhearing a private conversation with the use of one’s senses alone without an electronic devise is not an illegal interception.

Emails, instant messages and the like are deemed to have been illegally “intercepted” only if they are electronically intercepted during the transmission of the communications.

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