NRS 200.650 is the Nevada law which makes it a category D felony to listen to or record a private, in-person conversation without the consent of at least one party. The statute states:
[A] person shall not intrude upon the privacy of other persons by surreptitiously listening to, monitoring or recording … any private conversation engaged in by the other persons … unless authorized to do so by one of the persons engaging in the conversation.
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about invasion of privacy by eavesdropping under NRS 200.650.
1. Is consent necessary to record a private, in-person conversation?
In Nevada, at least one person to a private, in-person conversation must consent for someone else to listen in or record it.1
2. What are the penalties?
Knowingly and willfully violating NRS 200.650 is a category D felony. The punishment includes:
- 1 to 4 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- Up to $5,000 in fines (at the court’s discretion)
The defendant also faces a civil lawsuit by the eavesdropping victim. The defendant may then be required to pay the following money damages:
- The greater of either $1,000, or $100 per day of the violation;
- Punitive damages; and
- Litigation costs, including a reasonable attorney’s fee2
3. What are the defenses?
Four common defenses to Nevada charges of unauthorized listening are:
- At least one person consented to be listened to or recorded;
- The conversation was not private;
- The defendant did not act knowingly; or
- The defendant was falsely accused
3.1. At least one person consented to be listened to or recorded
Eavesdropping is legal as long as just one party to the conversation consents. It does not matter if all the other parties do not give consent.
As long as the defendant can show that at least one person consented, the NRS 200.650 charges should be dropped.
3.2. The conversation was not private
NRS 200.650 applies only to private conversations. People may lose their expectation of privacy in a public location. Examples may include on a bus or in a restaurant.
The prosecution must prove that the conversation was private. Otherwise, the charges should be dismissed.
3.3. The defendant did not act knowingly
NRS 200.650 is only a crime when the defendant willfully eavesdrops. Perhaps the defendant mistakenly left on her voice recorder.
The prosecution must prove the defendant behaved knowingly. Otherwise, the case should be dismissed.
3.4. The defendant was falsely accused
Sometimes people get falsely accused out of anger or revenge. Perhaps the accuser regrets consenting to being recorded. And now the accuser is blaming the defendant.
The prosecution has the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defense attorney can show that the state has insufficient evidence to meet this burden, criminal charges should not stand.
4. Are wiretapping laws different?
Yes. Nevada is an all-party consent state. All parties to a phone conversation must consent for the call to be recorded.
Therefore, Nevada’s wiretapping laws (NRS 200.620) are stricter than its eavesdropping laws. Eavesdropping requires the consent of just one party.3
5. What are the immigration consequences?
Eavesdropping is not a deportable crime. But the law is always changing. All non-citizens facing prosecution should consult with an attorney.
6. Can the record be sealed?
Yes. An unauthorized listening conviction in Nevada can be sealed five years after the case ends. And dismissed charges can get sealed right away.4 Learn more about Nevada criminal record seals.
Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
Arrested on charges of invading someone’s privacy in Nevada? Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers may be able to help. Our caring attorneys have decades of courtroom and negotiating experience. And we will fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Call us or use the form on this page to schedule a free consultation. One of our Las Vegas criminal lawyers will get back to you promptly. We will discuss your case and plan the best defense possible.
In California? See our article on eavesdropping laws (Penal Code 632 PC).
In Colorado? See our article on eavesdropping laws 18-9-303 C.R.S.
- NRS 200.650.
- NRS 200.690.
- NRS 200.620.
- NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.