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Ask TexCrimLawyer, J.D. Your Own Question

TexCrimLawyer, J.D.
TexCrimLawyer, J.D., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3615
Experience:  Experienced in state and federal criminal litigation.
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Is it legal to record video/take photos of people/police in

Resolved Question:

Is it legal to record video/take photos of people/police in a public place, even if they ask you not to?

What about a private establishment that has public space such as your local Mcdonalds or Walmart?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  TexCrimLawyer, J.D. replied 2 years ago.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Police do not enjoy some special protection from being filmed.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

If they are in a public place, they can be filmed, just as any ordinary citizen can.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

The one thing to be careful of is making sure the person filming them is not interfering with their duties.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Also, keep in mind that some officers may think it is illegal or irritated that they are being filmed. If that is the case, they may make up some unjustified reason to arrest the person, even if the charge won't ultimately stick. The person, however, be arrested nonetheless and will have to make bail, etc.

Customer:

sorry for my late connecting

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Unless a person has a good reason for doing so, if an officer asks you to stop filming them, I highly suggest you do so. Nothing good will come out of filming them after they ask you to stop and may get you arrested.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

None of this changes if you are in a place like McDonald's, unless the McDonald's people ask you to stop filming.

Customer:

If customers complain, but employees do not notify the video taping person that he needs to leave, has the person committed a crime?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

No.

Customer:

do you like it when i come up with hypotheticals? or are they easy to figure out most of the time?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

So far they haven't been too bad.

Customer:

are we allowed to go off topic, or should i open up a new question for that?

Customer:

i had another question

Customer:

unrelated to this one

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

If you have a question not related to this question, you should post a new one.

Customer:

okay. i will do that once i am certain this topic has been put to rest in my mind.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

The reason is that when an expert agrees to answer a question, they (should) be familiar with the topic. If the customer posts off topic, the expert may not be able to answer. Also, the prices are based on the question asked.

Customer:

is it legal to walk down a residential street and record the houses as you walk, so long as you're not loitering?

Customer:

what field of law does video recording fall under

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Yes. The basic rule is this: if you can see it from a lawful vantage point in public, you can record it. It falls under privacy laws.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

The theory is that a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in things that can be seen in public.

Customer:

is it legal to point a hyperbolic dish high sensitivity microphone towards houses as you're walking down the road?

Customer:

residential road*

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

There may be other issues if the person makes commercial use of another person's image, but that is a separate issue.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Without doing research on that specific point, it is difficult to say.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

That is not an issue I've dealt with before.

Customer:

if you are not confident enough to be certain, that is far better. thank you for being honest

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

I don't want to give someone bad advice and have them get into trouble as a result.

Customer:

how can an average citizen go about finding out the laws regarding this subject?

Customer:

without spending tons of money. or is that the only way

Customer:

I'd rather not "test it and find out"

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

In reality, you would need to hire a lawyer to research it, since an average citizen is not familiar with legal research. In most law schools, lawyers spend two semesters learning how to conduct proper legal research. It's not as easy as looking things up in an encyclopedia.

Customer:

where does the lawyer research? an internet site? a library? city hall?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Most lawyers use www.westlaw.com to do research. They also use law libraries.

Customer:

in order to find the answer to my hyperbolic dish microphone question, where would you recommend i go?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

A law library. Ask the librarian how to get started.

Customer:

good idea. say for example, a real life client came to you with my issue, how long would it take YOU to find out the answer if you did some heavy duty research?

Customer:

an estimate is fine

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

About 2 hours.

Customer:

so an experienced lawyer it takes about 2 hours of good research to find out. for the average citizen, might it take the whole day or longer?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

That sounds about right. It is difficult to say, though.

Customer:

assuming the citizen has graduated high school, and had one year of college.

Customer:

whole day?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

It might. It is very hard to say.

Customer:

okay. im done now. good responses.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3615
Experience: Experienced in state and federal criminal litigation.
TexCrimLawyer, J.D. and 9 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you

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