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Recording police officers

New law: civilians are legally allowed to video record police officers.


Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 411 allowing civilians the right to record public safety officers in California. This act is known as the “Right to Record Act”. SB411 clarifies our first amendment right to record police officers by stating that a civilian may be allowed to record an officer as long as he or she has the right to be in that place and is not violating the law.


Additionally, this law states that the video recording action does not constitute reasonable suspicion by the police officer to detain the person or point towards a probable cause for arrest.

If you have ever been told by a traffic court judge that you could avoid a point on your record by attending traffic school, you may not have gotten the full story. You may have been convinced that traffic school would not be an option after attending a trial for yourself. Even if you have gone to trial where you either pled guilty, no contest to, or if you were even convicted, you can still be permitted by a judge to attend traffic violation school. (California Vehicle Code section 42005)


Rules of the court permit judges, at their own discretion, to allow traffic school attendance if the defendant is eligible and “is not made ineligible by entering a plea other than guilty or by exercising his or her right to trial.” (Cal. Rule of Court 4.104(c) (1)-(2)


To be eligible for traffic school attendance, your driver’s license must be valid and you must have a non-commercial vehicle. The previous offense cannot be alcohol-related or a misdemeanor and it must be 18 months since any previous dealings with traffic school or traffic court. The individual driving conduct at issue must also be considered by the judge.


Any driver who believes their innocence should ask for a trial and contest the charges. If convicted and eligible, traffic school is still an option. You may be required to take a stand and you must be prepared to make a request for traffic school attendance based on the law and the facts of your case and citation. Do not rely solely on the court to protect your rights.

Learn more about traffic school

Unconstitutional search and seizures

On April 21, 2014, the United States Supreme Court declared in Rodriguez v United States No. 13-9972.


A motorist can be pulled over for a simple traffic violation and the officer will verify the motorist’s license insurance and more to issue a verbal warning. In this case, the cop smells the air freshener in the car and on this scent alone and nothing else, decides to ask for permission to search the car. The motorist declined. The officer then prolonged the detention and proceeded to call for back-up, search the vehicle, with a k-9 and recovered illegal narcotics.


The Supreme Court held “Absent reasonable suspicion, police extension of a traffic stop in order to conduct a dog sniff violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures”. If this case had ruled in favor of the government, the side-effects would cause every driver with an air freshener to be subject to an automobile search and seizure. The Law Office of Nigel Villanueva wants to ensure you know your rights and avoid being taken advantage of by anyone in cases like these.


Call the Law Office of Nigel Villanueva to schedule an appointment for your FREE 30-minute legal consultation. Se habla espanol.


Know your rights!

It is imperative that our constitutional rights are upheld

Recording Traffic Stop Arrested blog