Is It Legal to Record Police Interactions in New Jersey?

In recent years, there has been a disturbing rise in allegations of police misconduct across the country. Incidents involving police brutality, harassment, false accusations, and overall abuse of power have become more frequent, causing great concern. As such, it is essential to know how to interact with police officers and the steps to take to safeguard your legal rights. Often, individuals wonder whether they can record an interaction with a law enforcement official. If you have been a victim of police brutality or are facing criminal charges, you need to enlist the help of a trusted Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help defend your rights. Please continue reading to learn whether it is illegal to record a police interaction. 

Can you record a police officer in New Jersey?

While it’s never desirable to end up on the wrong side of the law, individuals may experience lapses in judgment, be mistaken for someone else, or get involved with the wrong crowd. Regardless of the reasoning, police officers may stop and ask you questions. Being stopped and questioned by the police can be an unsettling experience for anyone. During an encounter with a law enforcement agent, you can record videos, audio, and pictures of interactions. This is true for bystanders as well. Essentially, police officers are required to respect the civil liberties of suspects, witnesses, and bystanders at the scene. This means that individuals can record police officers during a traffic stop, while being questioned, or when placed under arrest to prevent any of their civil liberties from being violated.

What are the most common violations of a suspect’s civil liberties?

Although police officers possess broad powers to enforce the law, there are limitations set forth by the U.S. Constitution to the extent they can execute their duties. Fortunately, some laws protect individuals’ civil rights from police misconduct.

Sadly, not every cop complies with the duties of their job, violating a suspect’s rights. The most common violations include using excessive or deadly force in making arrests, providing misleading information, neglecting duty, manufacturing evidence, making false statements on reports, and acting in an official capacity while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In New Jersey, individuals are entitled to record police interactions to ensure their rights are not violated through police misconduct. Through a recording, individuals can prove a police officer’s actions violated their civil liberties.

What should I do If the police stop me?

If the police have stopped you, it is imperative to remain calm and collected regardless of the reason. Understandably, this is a distressing situation. However, you need to take the proper steps to protect yourself. Remember to keep your hands where the officer can see them, ask for permission before reaching for items, affirm your right to remain silent, record the interaction, and inquire whether you are being placed under arrest. If the police officer says you are not under arrest, ask them whether you can leave the premises. From here, you should contact an experienced Bergen County criminal defense attorney who can help you protect your rights.

If you or someone you love is the victim of police misconduct, contact an adept attorney from The Law Office of Carl Spector, who can help you safeguard your rights.