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Is is legal to videotape people butts on public if I'm not causing alarm or harassing or touching anyone?

Los Angeles, CA |

I will be using my smart phone so I won't be causing alarm, is that legal?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. It is not a criminal offense to video record what is viewable by the public at large, but once you start using technology to video under dresses and the like, there are criminal laws that make such conduct illegal.

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  2. If you think an activity might be criminal or perceived as creepy, its a good rule of thumb not to do it, unless you have the express consent from the person.


  3. Lots of local prosecutors would be stimulated and engaged by the challenge of bringing harassment or other charges based on an inferred unsavory intent on these facts. You need to remember that the prosecutor has few if any inhibitions about taking a flier on a case. They don't get fired or lose any professional credibility when they bring an unsuccessful case. Usually they are instead applauded and valued by their employers and colleagues for their creativity and extraordinary efforts.

    Will a prosecution on these facts be successful? Maybe. Depends on the trial skill and degree of effort by the prosector; the sensibilities and value system of the court and juror; the quality of the defense work; the character of the evidence and testimony offered to support argument and inferences of your intent.

    On the prosecutor's best day, you will be toast, burnt toast. So, as Dirty Harry used to say, Do you feel lucky? Or, more specifically: Is a jury gonna like you so much that they will see your conduct as harmless? My experience with juries causes me to bet on the prosecution.

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