Knowing your rights during an encounter with the police in Florida is extremely important. If your rights are violated, this evidence can help you with your criminal defense if you are charged with a crime.
One of the best ways to prove what happened is to have videotaped evidence. But can you legally record the police in Florida? The answer is yes, but only in certain situations.
The law states that you have a First Amendment right to take pictures of videos of police officers and matters of public interest. However, these rights are subject to some restrictions.
Public and private areas
You can record the police if you are in a public area and there are other people around to witness the event. You must make sure that you have a legal right to be in the area, stay a reasonable distance away from the activity and your videotaping is not interfering with legitimate police activity.
You generally cannot record the police if you are in a private area where there is no one else around. This is because the police have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that situation.
The exception to this is if the police agree to let you record them. Do not just assume that if the police officers see you there recording that they have agreed.
Asking for permission to record
Ask the police officers if they agree to being recorded and make sure they clearly state that you agree before you start recording. You should also ensure there are some witnesses around.
If you are pulled over for a traffic or other violation, it is best to not record unless the police clearly give you permission.
Sometimes it is hard to know what your rights are in these types of situations. This is why there are professionals who can evaluate what happened and determine if any of your rights were violated.