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Can you record police officers?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2021 | Criminal Defense

While the police may tell you differently, it’s 100% legal to film police interactions in Tennessee if you don’t interfere with their activities. If the police arrest you, documenting the incident on video could show the judge what really happened — not the prosecution’s version of events. You could also film incidents involving other people and act as a witness later.

Is it legal to record police interactions?

According to criminal law, it’s legal to take pictures, capture video and record audio of police interactions. However, you cannot interfere with whatever the police are doing. If you’re the one being arrested, stay calm and keep in mind your right to remain silent. Otherwise, keep your distance while you film the incident.

It’s important to know that the police can’t search your smartphone without a warrant. This also means that they can’t confiscate your phone or force you to delete the pictures. If a police officer tells you to delete the pictures or videos, you have the right to politely refuse. You could even lock your phone and refuse to give the police officer access.

According to the law, police officers can’t stop you from recording an incident. At most, they could ask you to move if you’re in a position that puts you at risk. If the police try to interfere with your recording, tell a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

How could filming the incident pay off later?

As far as evidence goes, nothing beats audio, pictures and videos that you took during the incident. You could prove to the judge that you’re telling the truth about the incident without relying on witnesses. Your attorney could also use your recordings to challenge the prosecution’s version of the events.

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