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Recorded Telephone Conversations in Wisconsin

An interesting question is whether someone can record a telephone conversation in Wisconsin and then use that as evidence in a courtroom as part of going through a divorce or separation case?

Wisconsin is a  “one party”  wiretap state. It is not necessarily illegal to wiretap or record someone, without their knowledge or consent. Whether that recording can come into evidence is a different issue.

s. 968.31 (2) “It is not unlawful under 968.28 to 968.37..,..

(c) For a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication where the person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to the interception unless the communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act in violation of the constitution or laws of the United States or of any state or for the purpose of committing any other injurious act.”

While it is not a crime to tape record  a telephone conversation with someone without their knowledge or consent in Wisconsin, such recordings are inadmissible in a Wisconsin court, at least, in any civil court proceeding. This is addressed at s. 885.365.


RECORDED TELEPHONE CONVERSATION (1) “Evidence obtained as the result of the use of voice recording equipment for recording of telephone conversations, by way of interception of a communication or in any other manner, shall be totally inadmissible in the courts of this state in civil actions, except as provided in ss. 968.28 to 968.37.”

How can the recordings get into evidence? If the party is informed that the conversation is being recorded and that evidence from said recording may be used in a court of law, and consent is given, the recording may be used.

s.885.365 addresses that issue: (2) Subsection (1) shall not apply where:

(a) “Such recording is made in a manner other than by interception and the person whose conversation is being recorded is informed at that time that the conversation is being recorded and that any evidence thereby obtained may be used in a court of law……”

If you have questions about going through a divorce or evidence that can be used in the courtroom, contact the experienced family lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. today. 414 453 0800.

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