Can I Film a Police Officer if I am Pulled Over?


Texas law gives you the right to film your interactions with law enforcement officers during traffic stops, and doing so could help you if you are a defendant in a criminal case.

Some of the most horrific instances of police brutality became public due to cell phone video recordings by witnesses. Without them, it is the officer’s word against everyone else’s about what happened at the traffic stop, and jurors have often believed the officer’s version of events just because of the shiny police badge. Even if the officer did not threaten you or use physical violence, an audio or video recording of a traffic stop can help you in a criminal case. Using recordings of police interactions as evidence is just one of the ways that the Fort Worthcriminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker can help you in your criminal case.

Texas Laws About Recording Your Interactions With Police

United States law gives you the right to photograph public buildings and public officials doing their jobs; this includes police officers.  Therefore, the visual portion of a cell phone video of a traffic stop is always legal. In some states, police can cite wiretapping laws to challenge the legality of the audio portion of your video, but you are also allowed to record the audio of your interactions with police.  Texas law allows audio recording of conversations even when only one party to the conversation consents to the recording. Police cannot confiscate your phone unless they have a warrant to do so, and they never have the right to delete videos from your phone.

How a Traffic Stop Video Can Help You in a Criminal Case

You cannot be convicted of a crime without due process. Some of the more well-known aspects of due process are the right to a jury trial, the right to avoid incriminating yourself, even when that means remaining silent, and the right to have a lawyer represent you. In fact, the jury cannot convict you if the police or prosecution have violated any of your rights, and even if they have not, the jury in a criminal case must acquit you unless the evidence against you is very strong.  Thus, a video recording of a traffic stop can help you in several ways. First, it can show that the officer violated your constitutional protection against unlawful search and seizure, for example, if the officer searched your vehicle without probable cause. Likewise, when the jury sees the traffic stop for themselves, what they see might conflict with the prosecution’s interpretation of what happened before and during the traffic stop. Remember that, in a criminal case, you do not have to make the jury completely certain that you are innocent; you only have to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case against you, and traffic stop videos can be effective at doing that.

Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker About Criminal Charges Arising From Traffic Stops

A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges as a result of a traffic stop. Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker in Fort Worth, Texas to discuss your case.