Is It Legal to Record Police Interactions in Texas?

woman holding phone in front of face

There are a number of reasons why someone may want to videotape their interactions with police officers, but most commonly it serves as a means to protect themselves in the event there is a criminal investigation against them. For example, many keep dashboard cameras in their car that record interactions with police when pulled over or use security footage from their home as evidence they did not resist arrest. However, not everyone is aware of their Constitutional rights. If you’ve been arrested or charged for trying to record a police interaction, Houston criminal defense attorneys can help ensure you receive justice.

Am I Allowed to Record the Police in Texas?

In most instances, it is within your right as an American citizen to film the police, as it is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. However, there are slight limitations to this rule.

Generally, you are only allowed to film the police in public settings and can only film things in plain view, which, in many instances, the police are in plain view of the public.

Additionally, you may not film the police in circumstances where you are interfering with their official duties, as this can be charged as obstruction of justice. Similarly, you may not commit another crime in these instances, like harassment or disorderly conduct.

What Should I Do if the Police Try to Intimidate Me?

In some instances, the police may not like the fact they are being filed, even if it is perfectly legal to do so. However, it is your right. Unfortunately, the police may try to force you to stop recording or place you under arrest because you were filming. If this occurs, remain calm and inform them of your Constitutional right to do so. Do not become aggressive.

If you are placed under arrest, it is in your best interest to remain silent. Do not resist arrest, as this can bring about legitimate charges. Additionally, the police cannot search your phone without a warrant, so do not feel compelled to give them access to your device or to erase the footage without exigent circumstances present.

How Can an Attorney Help if I’m Facing Charges?

In the event, that you’re facing criminal charges for exercising your Constitutional right to film the police, contacting an experienced defense attorney is vital. Because these charges violate your rights as a citizen, you must take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

At the Gonzalez Law Group, we are dedicated to helping victims of injustice. Our team will examine the circumstances surrounding your charges to determine the best means of fighting for the justice you are entitled to when you’re wrongfully arrested for filming the police. Contact our firm today to learn how we can help you through these difficult times.