August 31, 2020 | Ohio Law
It is little wonder why so-called nanny cams have grown increasingly popular around the country as of late. Protecting your children is the most important responsibility you have as a parent and with hundreds of thousands of nannies working in homes around the country, making sure your kids are safe while in the care of another is more important than ever.
In order to keep an eye on their children, and their nannies, many Americans have turned to nanny cams. For as low as $50 you can order a sophisticated camera that is easy to hide and can capture video that is crisp and clear anywhere in your home. A cleverly planted device can easily catch details of an assault or attack on a child.
But before you rush out and buy a nanny cam of your own, there are several things to consider. Obviously, the first question is whether or not nanny cams are actually legal in the first place. Just because you can buy something in a store or online doesn’t mean you can use it however you want or that it is always legal.
The short answer to the question of a nanny cam’s legality is yes, they are actually legal. In all fifty states, it is currently legal to make a video recording in your home without the consent of those being videoed. Those laws also apply to cameras that are hidden.
However, there are still three issues to look at more closely.
- the purpose of recording
- sound recordings
- admissibility of recordings in court
To help you understand the finer points on the issue of nanny cams here is more information on these three points.
Purpose of Recording
In most cases, those who set up nanny cams do so in order to make sure their children are safe or to make sure their nanny or anyone else who has regular access to their home isn’t stealing or damaging their property. Both of those reasons are legitimate and pass as permissible purposes for recording others in your home.
However, there are other purposes that are not sufficient for setting up a nanny camera. Using a nanny cam for commercial purposes, or to spread information publicly are generally not acceptable, legal reasons for setting up a nanny cam in your home.
While it is not the case in Ohio, a number of other states have passed laws that make it illegal to use a nanny cam in a private room such as a bathroom or a nanny’s bedroom.
Cameras that can also record sound are a bit different than video-only cameras and in some states have different laws. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington have what are known as two-party consent laws which require you to inform and receive consent from someone you are going to make an audio recording of.
Because Ohio is not on the above list, it is permissible to record both audio and video in your home without informing your nanny.
Admissibility of Recordings in Court
For many, the main purpose of recording their nanny is to make sure their children are safe. Few people would ever dream that they would have to use their recording as evidence against their nanny in court.
While you are certainly hoping you never have to, it is best to prepare for the worst and make sure you follow all appropriate laws when installing your nanny cam. For the time being, many courts have been admitting nanny cam recordings as evidence, though several states have not.
If you live in a state where you need to get consent from your nanny in order to make audio recordings of him or her and you fail to do so, there is a very good chance such recordings would not be admitted as evidence in court.
As noted above, Ohio is not a state that requires consent for audio recordings. You can feel free to set up a camera in your home to monitor your nanny and make sure your children are safe even when you are not present. Should worse come to worse, it is likely that video and audio you caught on your nanny cam, if it was installed for an acceptable purpose as described above, would be admissible in court.
Criminal Defense Attorneys: A Helpful Resource
Even in a state like Ohio, the rules of evidence can be complex and confusing. If you have any questions about installing a nanny cam or making sure your audio and video recordings are admissible in court, contact a qualified criminal defense attorney to learn more. They can be a valuable resource and help you make the best decision for you and your family.
Contact the Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202