Is it legal to record audio and/or video of a police officer on public property/your own property?

UPDATED: May 28, 2014

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Is it legal to record audio and/or video of a police officer on public property/your own property?

Asked on May 28, 2014 under Criminal Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is legal to video tape on public property or your own property so long as your actions do not interfere with the police officer doing his/her job--if it does interfere, that interference is illegal.

Audiotaping is more problematic, since recording another's conversation come run afoul of "wiretapping" laws. In your state, it would appear to be legal IF you are one of the parties to (participants in) the conversation--so, if the officer is speaking to or with you. You would potentially face liability, however, for recording a conversation in which you are not one of the speakers or participants.  (And again, if your recording interferes with the officer, that interference can result in liability.)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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