Although police officers may be recording the traffic stop with their dash cam, you also have the right to film an officer during a traffic stop. The right to videotape is protected by the First Amendment. It is important to remember that although you have you have the right to film, this does not allow you to stall or interfere with an officer conducting his investigation.
Videotaping a traffic stop is helpful because it can ensure that you and the officer are both on your best behavior during the stop. The video will also provide an accurate depiction of your encounter. Videotaping a traffic stop is for both your safety and the safety of the officer.
Shoving a camera or your iphone in an officer’s face may be enough, depending on the facts, for an officer to charge you with obstructing the officer’s investigation. Therefore it is important that you conduct yourself in a calm and respectful way if you intend to record your traffic stop. Here are some pointers below.
Don’t Have a Bad Attitude
If you pull out your phone to videotape your traffic stop you are likely to be confronted with a disgruntled officer. They may ask your or tell you to stop recording. Do not begin your encounter with a bad attitude even if confronted with one. Explain you that you are recording, be polite, direct and calm.
Inform The Officer That You Are Recording
Typically you are asked to produce your license and registration when pulled over for a traffic violation. As the video illustrates, let the officer know you are complying with his requests to produce your license and registration, and likewise inform the officer that you are recording the encounter. The officer may ask you not to record, but it is your legal right and inform him/her that you have such a right and you will be recording the encounter and continue recording despite their request.
Be Polite And Assertive
In all your interactions with the officer be polite and assertive rather than confrontational. It is important that while you are communicating with the officer that you are assertive regarding your rights, your compliance, but remain polite if confronted by the officer with regard to recording.
If an officer confiscates your phone or camera, or if they arrest you for recording your traffic stop, then you should consult a criminal defense attorney. If you have been in a situation like this or have been charged with a traffic matter that you have recorded, contact The Aizman Law Firm. We can assist with your case and go over the video footage together and discuss how it can help in your defense. Give us a call at 818-649-5588.