Can I Legally Record the Police?
If you’re pulled over by an officer or one begins questioning you on the street, you might feel more comfortable if you have a recording to reflect what happened. Recording the police has become a more common practice in recent years, but you’re not always legally allowed to do it. Read on to learn more about when it’s okay and when it is against the law.Many people have questions in light of recent news stories about whether or not they can legally record a police officer doing his or her job. In general, the first amendment has been interpreted that you have the right to record video, audio and pictures of an officer in public, while he or she is performing his duties.
This does not mean, however, that you are given broad license to record an officer secretly, if you are breaking the law, or if you are interfering with the officer. The rationale for allowing recording a police officers is that the first amendment enables free discussion of government. Since personal filming devices have become much more popular and prevalent in recent years, more and more information is being gathered and distributed by members of the public.
There are exceptions to the right to record, including the place, time and manner of recording. If you are interfering with an officer and it does not allow them to their jobs, this can be an exception to the right to record.
State wiretapping laws may also protect police from you using your recording device in a secretive manner. When recording constitutes some other crime such as stalking, disorderly conduct, harassment or trespassing, you may not be eligible to record an officer. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is vital if you have questions about a recording from a current situation involving law enforcement.
Are you not sure whether the police acted appropriately in your criminal defense case? If so, schedule a consultation with experienced criminal defense attorney John Tumelty from the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty. He will take the time to answer all of your questions. Contact his office today.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.