In several court cases throughout the nation, it has been determined that recording the police is protected by the First Amendment. That said, police may still try to stop citizens from recording them as they perform their duties. If you decide to record the police, follow these tips to keep yourself out of trouble.

1. Understand the Law

In 48 states, including Florida, it is legal to record on-duty police officers as they perform their jobs. As long as you are not physically interfering with the officers or prohibiting them from completing their duty, you cannot be charged with a crime.

2. Do It Openly

Your best bet is to plainly and openly record. Massachusetts has been the only state that has upheld a conviction for the secret recording of police officers, but you don’t want to have to deal with a trial in order to clear your name.

3. Explain Yourself

If you are bullied by an uninformed cop, be ready to explain yourself. Telling the police officer that you are recording and that your actions are permitted by the First Amendment should be enough. Do not get in an argument.

4. Don’t Share

You do not have to share your video with the police. If you want to share your video, keep it off of your Facebook page and upload it anonymously to YouTube.

5. Get Ready for an Arrest

If the police officer tells you that you will be arrested if you don’t stop recording, believe them. You do not have to stop and chances are high that you will be acquitted of your charges, but you should still prepare for the imminent arrest should you continue recording.

6. Don’t Be Aggressive

When filming the police, you want to be as neutral as possible. Do not take an aggressive stance, do not point your phone like a weapon and maintain a calm demeanor. Remember that you are recording and your actions and words will be part of that video.

It is your right to film the police, but how you choose to go about filming will determine how the situation plays out. Use the tips above as a type of guide to filming on-duty police officers no matter where you are.

If you have been arrested in Orlando, call our team. We will provide you with an initial consultation at no cost to you. Call now for assistance from an experienced member of our firm.

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