Can You Record Officers in Los Angeles?

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Worried about getting arrested for recording police officers in Los Angeles, CA? While it is legal to record a police officer in California, there are certain rules you must abide by in order to remain on the right side of the law. 

Here’s what you need to know in order to keep yourself as safe as possible from the possibility of arrest.

Make Sure the Police Are On Duty and Performing in Their Official Capacity

According to California Penal Code Section 632, it is against the law to: “intentionally, and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrop upon or record the confidential communication.” It does not matter how the communication is carried out: it can be via telephone or in person, though not over the radio.

Doing so opens you up to a $2500 fine and a one year prison sentence. 

However, police who are on duty and acting in their official capacity have no expectation of privacy. They are acting in their capacity as public servants, and therefore may be recorded. If the police officer is off duty, however, you could be found in violation of this law.  

Avoid Interference 

California Penal Code Section 148 states:

“Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician as defined in Division 2.5 of the Health and Safety code, in the discharge or attempt to discharge of any duty of his office or employment, when no other punishment is prescribed, shall be punished with a fine not exceeding $1000 or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.” 

What does it mean to avoid obstructing the police officer? You need to make sure you stay well away from the action at hand, whatever that happens to be. 

What if the police ask you to stop recording? You will have your own judgment call to make. You can assert your rights, or you can back down. Either one could have consequences: either failing to capture a significant overreach of police power or ending up on the wrong side of a police officer. 

Recognize You Can Still Be Arrested

Arrests are not always fair.

You could be well out of the way of the police and well within your legal rights to record, yet police officers may still arrest you for obstruction, or on some other trumped up charge.

You should be aware of this before you start recording. Make sure your phone is heavily password protected and inaccessible if at all possible. 

Once arrested, affirmatively assert your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. 

Remain Calm and Contact a Lawyer

If the police do arrest you then you will need a lawyer to avoid a criminal record, even if police opt for a “cite and release” because your charges are relatively nonviolent and minor.

Contact us for a thorough case review and solutions for your case. 

See also:

What to Do If You Get Arrested in Los Angeles, CA? 

What is a Cite & Release in Los Angeles?

Can the LAPD Force You to Unlock Your Phone?  

 

Can You Record Officers in Los Angeles?

inne-rpage-seperator

Worried about getting arrested for recording police officers in Los Angeles, CA? While it is legal to record a police officer in California, there are certain rules you must abide by in order to remain on the right side of the law. 

Here’s what you need to know in order to keep yourself as safe as possible from the possibility of arrest.

Make Sure the Police Are On Duty and Performing in Their Official Capacity

According to California Penal Code Section 632, it is against the law to: “intentionally, and without the consent of all parties to a confidential communication, by means of any electronic amplifying or recording device, eavesdrop upon or record the confidential communication.” It does not matter how the communication is carried out: it can be via telephone or in person, though not over the radio.

Doing so opens you up to a $2500 fine and a one year prison sentence. 

However, police who are on duty and acting in their official capacity have no expectation of privacy. They are acting in their capacity as public servants, and therefore may be recorded. If the police officer is off duty, however, you could be found in violation of this law.  

Avoid Interference 

California Penal Code Section 148 states:

“Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician as defined in Division 2.5 of the Health and Safety code, in the discharge or attempt to discharge of any duty of his office or employment, when no other punishment is prescribed, shall be punished with a fine not exceeding $1000 or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.” 

What does it mean to avoid obstructing the police officer? You need to make sure you stay well away from the action at hand, whatever that happens to be. 

What if the police ask you to stop recording? You will have your own judgment call to make. You can assert your rights, or you can back down. Either one could have consequences: either failing to capture a significant overreach of police power or ending up on the wrong side of a police officer. 

Recognize You Can Still Be Arrested

Arrests are not always fair.

You could be well out of the way of the police and well within your legal rights to record, yet police officers may still arrest you for obstruction, or on some other trumped up charge.

You should be aware of this before you start recording. Make sure your phone is heavily password protected and inaccessible if at all possible. 

Once arrested, affirmatively assert your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. 

Remain Calm and Contact a Lawyer

If the police do arrest you then you will need a lawyer to avoid a criminal record, even if police opt for a “cite and release” because your charges are relatively nonviolent and minor.

Contact us for a thorough case review and solutions for your case. 

See also:

What to Do If You Get Arrested in Los Angeles, CA? 

What is a Cite & Release in Los Angeles?

Can the LAPD Force You to Unlock Your Phone?  

 

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