In Utah, can I be charged with I crime if I use my phone or other device to record a law enforcement encounter?
The Short answer is no, as long as you do not interfere with the law enforcement officer’s arrest or detention. In 2017, Utah Legislator and Chief Sponsor of Senate Bill 239, Senator Todd Weiler, and Representative Adam Gardiner enacted the following statute which provides:
“Recording the actions of a law enforcement Officer with a camera, mobile phone, or other photographic
device, while the officer is performing official duties in plain view, does not by itself constitute (a) interference with a police officer, (b) willful resistance, (c) disorderly conduct, or (d) obstruction of justice.”
The key is “does not by itself constitute”, meaning other facts or actions taken by the person filming can be considered to determine whether you can be charged criminally for interfering with an arrest or detention while filming a law enforcement encounter. Usually it will be the law enforcement officer who will assert those other facts or actions that resulted in the interference.
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