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