Recording an Officer

Criminal Defense Attorney

There are several reasons that you or someone that may have been stopped or confronted by law enforcement may want to record the meeting with the on-duty or off-duty police officer. However, there are a few things to consider before doing so.

  1. Be well-informed of the states law:

While it is legal to record officers in more states than not, be sure that the state you reside in or are approached by a cop in allows you to record officer encounters without the consent of the officer. Because let’s be honest, chances are you are not going to ask permission or be given consent if you did.

  1. Do not record in secret

Do not confuse “get consent”, with the okay to record in secret. While state laws may allow you to record the encounter with the consent of the officer, you should still inform the officer of your actions. With or without consent do let them know “I am recording this encounter”.

  1. Do not point device like weapon

Legal or not, you do not want to appear as if you are threatening or being aggressive with the officer in any way. Keep your recording device at a reasonable position to avoid confrontation and intimidating the officer. Always consider that being frustrated may irritate the officer and if you are not already involved, this frustration may cause you to be approached so it is best to avoid sudden movement, as the cop may think this is a weapon and you may be in more danger.

  1. Be prepared to go to be detained

Although it may or may not be illegal to record a cops encounter with someone, you or otherwise, the cops response to being recorded may lead to an arrest. If you are threatened with an arrest, it is truly likely to happen. Do not resist arrest and be careful with the recording device as it may still be recording and will help you in your criminal case, which may also turn civil.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for recording an encounter with the officer, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible so that you rights are fought for. Being approached by the police may already be a scary experience for some and laws vary from state to state so be sure to speak with a skilled Decatur criminal law lawyer that can fight for you, sooner than later.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into criminal defense and recording a police officer.

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