If a Virginia police officer believes that you have violated state law, he or she may conduct a traffic stop. As a general rule, you have the right to capture footage of the interaction between yourself and the officer who conducts the stop.
You should inform the officer that you’re recording
As the officer approaches your car, you should let that individual know that you are recording his or her actions. This can help ensure that the person approaching your car knows that the object in your hand, on your lap or on your dashboard isn’t a weapon. In some cases, those who know that they are being recorded are less likely to act in an unprofessional manner during a traffic stop. Therefore, even if you are cited for a traffic violation, you improve the odds of being treated properly during your interaction with the police.
A warrant may be needed to confiscate your phone
In most cases, an officer will need to obtain a warrant to confiscate your phone. However, this may not be true if he or she has reason to believe that your device contains information that could prevent the commission of a future crime. It is important to note that you’re generally not required to provide the password used to protect the device from unauthorized access.
What if the officer orders you to stop filming?
If a police officer orders you to stop filming, you should calmly remind him or her that you have the right to do so. If you are taken into custody for failure to comply with that order, it may be necessary to hire a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer may help you hold that person accountable for his or her actions.
Whether you have been charged with a felony, a misdemeanor or an infraction, it may be a good idea to hire an attorney to represent you throughout the legal process. A lawyer may assist you with obtaining a favorable outcome in your case.