Do Dashcams Have Audio? Can They Record & Play Back Sound?
Written by Nick
Updated On 
Nov 25, 2021 @ 11:58 pm

Yes they do.

In The UK and also twelve states in the United States, both the driver and the passenger must consent to the audio recording (dual consent). If you were in a car accident and the other party sat in your car to exchange information, you could ask him questions there that he would answer, but not if he was aware of the audio recording in plain sight.

If you notice that you are within audio recording range, notify others immediately. However, if you destroy evidence for the same error, the jury may have a long list of reasons why you deleted that audio recording. Dash Cam records are admissible as evidence in any trial, so if you wipe them, you could end up up with legal issues.

As a result, while audio recording might be beneficial, it can also be harmful. If you utilise an audio recording against someone, you may face counter-suing. 

Is your dash cam guilty of eavesdropping?

Dash cams are useful tools for defending oneself legally, such as if you're in an accident caused by someone else, or for examining events like a crash in front of you, or if you left your car with a valet who decided it'd be fun to have a joyride on your behalf.

They're meant to record video throughout the duration of your vehicle's operation, and if the memory is full, the most recent clip will usually take the place of the oldest.
This ensures that you always have access to the prior several hours of video to review.
My dash cam can hold roughly five hours of video before it starts destroying earlier clips.

The majority of dash cams now have the ability to record audio in addition to video.
The audio is captured using a microphone incorporated into the dash cam, which is located within the vehicle. 

Legal Ramifications

Eavesdropping statutes, on the other hand, control whether you can record a discussion without the approval of some or all of the participants.

Eavesdropping laws are frequently harsh: It is a crime punishable by fines to prison time. Some courts however, have ruled that a person can record a conversation to which they are a party regardless of the other parties to the conversation knowing or giving that party consent in advance.

The conversation between people when a dash cam records conversation combined with the possibility of these being considered illegal recordings and eavesdropping statutes can produce harsh penalties for an eavesdropping offense.

What happens if I delete my dash cam footage?

Deleting a dash cam footage is a very serious matter. If you erase your dash cam footage, you could be facing criminal charges. In fact, many states have specific laws regarding this issue. For example, in California, deleting a dash cam footage is considered destruction of evidence.

Eavesdropping on passengers

You should be aware that if the audio is turned on, you may be recording the discussions of your passengers without their knowledge or permission. If many states in the US need all-party consent, this might be considered eavesdropping.

Due to the eavesdropping component of recording audio, if you have video of a valet wrecking your car while taking it for a joyride, the evidence may be considered inadmissible.

Steve Lehto, a Michigan attorney, recently published an article in Road & Track on the subject.
When you are not in your car, the problem emerges. As when you take your supercar in for minor warranty service and leave it in the hands of experts for the day. In many areas, recording a discussion between people in the automobile with whom you are not involved is considered "eavesdropping." Eavesdropping laws can involve severe penalties: In Michigan it is a felony, carrying possible prison time and a steep fine. As an attorney, I advise you to avoid eavesdropping.

However, there are a few of points to be addressed here. The most noticeable is that all of these statutes are concerned with "talk." As in, people are conversing. You'll be alright if the dash cam simply records video and not audio. Is there a mute button on the camera? If that's the case, turn it off when you're not driving.

You might still have some solid defenses if you didn't silence the recording and obtained some juicy footage–including audio–of your automobile being battered. The most evident is that the camera is visible. Did the thugs truly have no idea what the dash cam was recording when they were thrashing your car?

It might not be deemed eavesdropping if the recording was not kept secret. 

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About the author
Nick
My name is Nick and I am a self-diagnosed tech-geek! I am the owner of DashCamExperts.UK where we review various dash cams. Having owned a dash cam store where we sold and installed them, starting a website around the subject seemed to be a no-brainer, so here we are! Hope you guys enjoy my reviews!
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