February 22, 2017 |

Recording an Arrest: Know Your Rights

The prevalence of camera phones allows for greater transparency in many areas of life – including arrests.  If you witness an arrest, you have the right to peacefully record the process.  Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Epstein & Conroy, P.C. for a full explanation of your rights under the Constitution and the laws of New York State.

Government transparency and accountability are at the heart of your right to record the actions of government officials.  A recording can have a profound impact on how government officials interact with citizens.

What are My Rights When Recoding an Arrest?

As a United States citizen, your constitutional rights travel with you from state to state and the ability to record an arrest is one of those rights.  According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) there are several things to remember when recording an arrest:

  • You have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view when in a public space where you are present without breaking any laws.
  • Property owners have the right to allow you (or exclude you) from private property.
  • Police officers must have a warrant to confiscate your camera or phone. Furthermore, police may not delete videos or pictures contained on your camera or phone.
  • Police officers have the right to maintain order, so DO NOT interfere with an arrest.

Remember that there are many places where photography is prohibited.  For example, you cannot record or take pictures of sensitive areas within an airport.  The prohibitions serve legitimate safety purposes and should be followed.

Contact a Brooklyn criminal defense attorney at Epstein & Conroy, P.C. if you have any questions about your rights under the Constitution and New York State law.

What Should I Do if My Rights Have Been Violated?

When arrested you always have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney – be sure to exercise these rights.  If you have been arrested while peacefully recording the arrest of another, you may have had your constitutional rights violated.  The Constitution places restraints on government officials to protect our free and open society.  Violations of constitutional rights should be taken seriously.

If you are arrested, there are some important steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Remain calm and do not physically resist.
  • Do not attempt to run and try not to become confrontational.
  • Stay aware of your surrounding and gather information. For example, you will want to try to record witness names and contact information.

In most cases, it is best to simply remain silent and request that you be allowed to communicate with your attorney.  Acting aggressively or violently towards a police officer usually makes the situation worse and can lead to criminal charges.

Contacting Epstein & Conroy, P.C.

Your criminal defense attorney should be able to clearly explain your rights and the legal process.  We take our responsibility to understand the Constitution and the laws of New York State very seriously.

The criminal defense attorneys at Epstein & Conroy, P.C. have the experience and resources to provide you with comprehensive legal services.  Contact our offices today for a complete case evaluation.  We work hard to protect your constitutional rights and we believe strongly in limitations on government intrusion.

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