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man recording police on cell phone

Can I Legally Record The Police?

Technology is almost always within reach. Because of this, there are more options available than ever before to capture photos and videos at any time. Police interactions with citizens are being filmed more frequently and uploaded to social media. You may be wondering, what are your rights when it comes to filming law enforcement?

Florida Consent to Record

Florida follows two-party consent laws. This means that it is illegal to record private communications without both parties consenting. For example, recording a phone call without another person’s knowledge. Doing so could result in criminal penalties and even felony charges.

It is legal, however, to record public conversations and interactions because there is no expectation of privacy in these situations. For example, if a fight breaks out on the sidewalk, anyone can record it without violating two-party consent laws.

Recording Police

Based on the First Amendment, individuals have the right to photograph or videotape police conduct, and document what public officials do on public property. Additionally, Florida law specifically states that police officers are exempt from two-party consent laws. Based on this, it is fully legal to record the police in public spaces.

It is important to note that if you choose to record the police, you must do so in a way that does not interfere with police activity. Still, some police officers become frustrated when they realize they are being filmed.
They may arrest you for:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Obstruction of justice

Remember though, that so long as you are legally allowed to be where you are and are not preventing the police from doing their job, that you are fully within your right to record.

If you choose to record the police, you can take these precautionary steps:

  • Tell them that you are recording
  • Stay calm
  • Keep a safe distance from what you are recording

Miami Criminal Defense Attorneys

Recording police interactions helps show proof of what really happened during an arrest. If any police misconduct took place, having video or photographic evidence can be extremely beneficial in having charges dropped or reduced. If you are facing criminal charges, contact our team at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today.