Criminal Defense Lawyers

Serving Austin, TX

Free Case Evaluation: 512.472.6565

Is it Legal to Film the Police in Texas?

Posted By Hines Ranc & Holub || 13-May-2016

In the wake of the police brutality of the last few years, many states have enacted measures to deter police from illegal practices while performing their duties. Some police units are now wearing body cameras in addition to their squad car dash cams. But you if you would like to further document police actions with a handheld camera or cell phone, it is important you understand your rights.

Filming the police could be beneficial for gathering evidence should you ever need to prove yourself in court. For example, if you were pulled over for a DWI and the police claimed you were resisting arrest or refused to comply, but you felt you had reacted calmly, an Austin criminal defense attorney could potentially use your video as evidence for your case.

1. You Have a Right to Film/ Photograph Anything in Plain View in a Public Space

A public space could be considered train stations, federal buildings, and the police. If you are on private property, the property owner has complete control to set the rules regarding photography and filming. Remember, if you are caught filming on private property, the owner can order you off the property and if you fail to comply you could be arrested for trespassing.

2. You May Film the Police as Long as You Do Not Interfere

If you are filming an incident, you have every right to do so as long as you don’t interfere with police work. If the police request you step back, comply with their request. If you are filming or photographing an incident and your presence is truly affecting the operation, the police could legitimately order you to cease.

3. In Texas, Only One Person Must Give Consent to Record a Conversation

If you wish to record a conversation in Texas, only one party is required to give consent or be privy to the recording. This means you may record the audio of a conversation you are having with a police officer without stating you are recording them. This could be a helpful practice when encountering the police at traffic stops. Should the police search your car illegally or perform any other unconstitutional actions, having the audio recordings could help our experienced Austin criminal defense lawyer provide better evidence for your case.

4. The Police Cannot Confiscate or Demand to View Your Videos

According to Supreme Court ruling of Riley v. California it is unconstitutional for the police to search your cell phone after an arrest without a warrant. If you are legally filming the police in a public space, and they try to confiscate your phone or demand to view your videos, you can politely remind them of your rights.

Contact Our Austin Criminal Defense Attorney

If you were arrested for filming the police, you may be facing unfair criminal charges of assault or battery. These charges come with serious punishments and should not be taken lightly. If you’re faced with unfair charges, you deserve top-notch legal representation. Our Austin criminal defense attorney can help you build a better defense.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Categories: Assault, Criminal Defense