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Not sure if this is criminal or civil. My neighbor just

installed a video camera pointed...
Not sure if this is criminal or civil. My neighbor just installed a video camera pointed solely at my backyard from about 1' on his side of a wire fence. Need a lawyer in San Mateo, County, California.
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
10/9/2017
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: JA Mentor
Verified

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

If the cameras record both audio and video, then it's a crime to point themat your backyard, because it's illegal in California to record a conversation without the consent of all of the parties. Cal. Pen. Code, Section 632.

A camera that only records video would not be illegal when it's pointing through a wire fence, if it's only picking up things that your neighbor could see from his backyard. A camera that pointed over a solid fence would be a civil nuisance. But the courts have said there is no expectation of privacy in things that are visible to the public. For your backyard to be considered private, they would have to be pointing the cameras inside your bedroom/bathroom, or to see into a place where they wouldn't otherwise be able to see.

You can, of course, construct something that would block the camera's view of your yard, put up a piece of plywood, or even hang up tarps if you're not comfortable with them being able to see in when they're not physically present.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
Thank you - here is some additional background:He claims my dogs bark "at" him and are a nuisance - but he has never called the police about it.We on the other hand have called the police about his belligerent verbal and other abuse. He has berated us verbally numerous times, thrown something at our house, and he used a high pitched sonic device - all of which we filed incident reports to the police about.My dogs do not bark "at" him. They bark at squirrels and occasionally when people walk by our back fence - and if they happen to be out on our deck when the neighbor comes in his front gate. They bark once or twice, sometimes a few times and we bring them in immediately. The police have assured us we are well within the city code. Is there anything we can do legally to stop him from harassing us?

If he's trying to record the dog barking, then you can report him for illegally recording private conversations. A person can't just leave a device recording audio all the time, because it's impossible to get the consent of everyone who might walk by having a conversation.

Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: JA Mentor
Verified
Lucy, Esq. and 87 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
I had another quick question. If I put a screening tarp up in front of the camera and the neighbor either 1. cuts the straps I've attached it to the fence with or 2. cuts it or damages it in any way - is that considered property damage and/or trespassing?

Yes, it is. You could bring vandalism charges.

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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
Great - thanks!

You're welcome!

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