If you get pulled over for a traffic violation, do you have the right to record the police officer on your cell phone?
The short answer is yes. Federal courts have ruled that police officers have no expectation of privacy during a traffic stop. You don’t need their consent to record. You cannot be prosecuted for refusing to turn off your camera, but that is the short answer. You can be prosecuted if you interfere with police business or disobey a lawful order. Every Constitutional right has its limits and traffic stops are fraught with danger for everyone involved.
Reaching for a phone could be misinterpreted as reaching for a gun and pointing a phone could rapidly escalate an already tense situation. The most effective strategy during a traffic stop is to secretly record. There is an iPhone shortcut for this too. By saying, “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over,” your phone will automatically dim your screen, open the front-facing camera and starts recording.
I’m sure we have all heard these tips a hundred times or so, but they are worth repeating and reviewing. Once you see an officer behind you with lights on signaling you to pull over when you are driving a car:
- Proceed to stop your motor vehicle in the safest and closest location
- Once you are safely pulled over, you should turn off your vehicle.
- STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE. Do not exit the vehicle, unless the officer prompts you to do so.
- Turn on the internal light (if it is dark outside)
- Open your window
- Start the video recording on your phone and keep it in your lap or on the seat
- Place both of your hands on the steering wheel
- Remain calm and wait for the officer to exit their patrol car, and approach your vehicle
- When the officer approaches and asks for your Driver’s License, Vehicle Registration, and Proof of Insurance, hand over all three pieces of documentation requested. (it is best to have them in an easy to access location in your car so you are not scrambling around for them.)
- The driver and the passenger have the right to remain silent
- If you are the passenger, you are within your rights to ask if you are free to leave. If you, as the passenger, choose to ask this question, and the officer responds by saying “yes”, you have the option to sit silently for the remainder of the traffic stop or to calmly leave the vehicle and exit the area.
- Always be polite when talking to the officer. It is in your best interest to be courteous during a traffic stop. There is no reason for you to give the officer a change to add any charges to the citation you may or may not be receiving
- Do not volunteer any additional information to the officer
- Be EXTREMELY cautious when you are merging back into traffic
If your traffic stop resulted in being issued a citation by the officer, do NOT forget to take the appropriate and necessary actions. On the ticket, you were given you will see a deadline with instructions.
You have several options after getting the citation. These options depend on what type of citation it is and the details of the citation. You can admit guilt and pay the fine or fight the ticket in court. In the event you decide to fight the ticket, it may be in your best interest to high an attorney to discuss your case.
Tad’s Tickets is experienced in all sorts of citations that are products of traffic stops. We would be more than happy to help you with your case and help you resolve any issue that resulted after being involved in a traffic stop. Give us a call today!