Skip to main content

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.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

  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.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.