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Can I Record My Encounter with Police?

By Peek & Toland on June 15, 2019

Since most individuals have a cell phone with them at all times, it is no surprise that some individuals have made a habit of trying to record their encounters with police, with varying success. Unfortunately, some police officers have made the news when they have ordered individuals to stop recording or photographing them, or when they otherwise have intervened to prevent individuals from doing so. As a result, many people may wonder if it is legal to record their encounters with police and if they will end up in trouble for doing so.

When you are in public, you generally have the right to photograph or record anyone or anything. On private property, however, the property owner has the right to set limits on what or whom you can photograph or record. If you disobey private property owners’ rules or directions about recording or photographing others, they can ask you to leave the property.

Can I Record My Encounter with Police?

Generally, police cannot confiscate your cell phone or demand that you show them your pictures or videos, unless they have a search warrant that allows them to do so. If you are arrested, the right of police to view the contents of your cell phone are a bit more uncertain. There are no circumstances, however, under which police can delete or erase pictures or videos from your phone.

There are some legal distinctions between visual and audio recordings of your encounters with police. In Texas, though, audio recording police when you are speaking with them is not a violation of wiretapping laws, because audio recording conversations are legal, so long as one of the parties consents to the recording. Since you are a party to the conversation, then you can legally record the conversation. Plus, even if you are not a direct participant in the conversation, most state courts have held that police officers have no expectation of privacy in the statements that they make in public. As a result, it is legal to record encounters with police officers in public, even if they involve people other than yourself. The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

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Texas Teens to be Trained on Police Interactions

By Peek & Toland on March 9, 2018

Police interactions have become increasingly tense in recent years. A series of high profile incidents in which officers have killed suspects, has led to tension between police officers and minorities.

In Texas, the case of Sandra Bland, a black woman who was put in a cell after a police stop for a traffic infraction went awry made national headlines. Bland never made it out of the cell where investigators say she took her own life.

A new law that went into effect in September will mandate high school students, new drivers, and police on how to act during police interactions.

Although the legislation was passed in 2017, the courses are unlikely to start until September 2018, because the content is still being developed, noted the Texas Tribune.

The Tribune noted Senate Bill 30 was discussed by Texas lawmakers to address a growing rift between police and communities after a string of fatal police encounters.

Sandra Bland was found hanged in her cell just three days after a heated traffic stop resulted in her arrest. The bill also followed the fatal shooting last year of five police officers in Dallas.

Teens to be trained on police interactions

teens are trained on police interactions

Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas authored the bill. He noted growing tension between police officers and citizens during traffic stops.

West said he hopes some of that friction will be relieved by teaching the different groups what is expected of citizens and police during interactions, primarily traffic stops.

Although Bland’s death led to legislation that would have curbed the powers of police during traffic stops, these measures were culled from the final legislation.

From September, the public high school curriculum in Texas, driver’s ed classes and training for existing and new police officers must include instructions on the duties and role in society of police officers.

Issues such as the rights of the individual during a police interaction, the correct behavior between citizens and cops, the laws relating to questioning and detention by police and how to file a complaint, will be covered,

Suggested actions are put forward by the Texas Department of Public in its latest version of the Texas Driver Handbook, released in the fall.

The book suggests drivers should keep their hands close to the steering wheel and never reach into the glove box for documents until asked to do so by an officer.

A section has been added to the publication that explains drivers can ask to leave if they are detained at a traffic stop for an extended period of time. They can decline search requests in the absence of a probable cause.

In Texas, suspects are often the victims of improper police procedure. This can render evidence collected inadmissible in court.

If you have been accused of an offense in Texas, call our experienced criminal defense lawyers today at (512) 474-4445.

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