Taking a photograph on some, anyone, in a public place is a protected right for all Americans. It has borne the test of justice and been found safe in all cases. However, the same cannot be said of audio recording, a prime component of video taping which has become more common than photographing someone has ever been.

This had led to legal trouble for some people who try to video tape their own traffic stop. The police themselves are often confused about the legality of video taping their actions and in some cases have made arrests, confiscated equipment and issued fines for such actions. While the actions of citizens to record their own traffic stops has been repeatedly upheld in the courts, some police continue to mistakenly believe it is illegal. And in fact, it does indeed remain illegal in 12 states to record audio without the express permission of both parties. That means if the police officer doesn’t you recording his audio, you simply cannot.

In all these cases it has been incumbent upon the citizen to know the law before engaging in activity which may or may not be illegal. Ignorance is not excuse for breaking the law and police officers are not in business to let you walk away if you do it. They will always err on the side of caution and punish offenders to the fullest extent of the law first; ask questions later.

if you have been thinking about keeping a video camera in your car just in case you get pulled over by an officer of the law make certain you check the laws in the state where you live first. You may be allowed to record everything the office does or says, or you may not. And only the law can tell you which it is. In any case, you should avoid angering the officer who might have been willing to write you a warning for speeding instead of a citation.