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Thread: Dash/Windshield Mounted Video Cameras and State Laws

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    Regular Member USNA69's Avatar
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    Dash/Windshield Mounted Video Cameras and State Laws

    Fellow OCers,

    The subject of dashcams came up in another thread, but I wanted to begin a new one in order to give the issue visibility.

    Most of us already know the value of carrying a digital voice recorder (DVR). The dashcam is a logical extension of the ability to record an event for our legal protection. And, like DVRs and firearms, laws vary from state to state. We are a Virginia forum, but we also travel into nearby states and must be wary of the laws of those states.

    I had planned a trip to MD to visit a cousin and told him that I had purchased a dashcam. He warned me to be carful how I use it in MD.

    He cited two links to illustrate his warning:

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/05/29/ma...ay-its-illegal

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNcDGqzAB30

    Just as we do regarding our guns, we must do our homework, if we to venture into other states ... especially the Peoples Republic of Marylandistan.

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    Regular Member nemo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USNA69 View Post

    I had planned a trip to MD to visit a cousin and told him that I had purchased a dashcam.
    You are one step ahead of me. Where do I go to buy a dashcam?

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemo View Post
    You are one step ahead of me. Where do I go to buy a dashcam?
    I ordered this one Nemo:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    A note on legality in other states. Public Video is legal in every state. The problem comes up with the audio in some places. Gradually, the courts are accepting that audio and video go hand in hand and dismembering the old laws but it's best to check first.

    I think the Maryland law was struck down but since you couldn't get me there on a bet, I haven't kept up with the cases.

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    Regular Member nemo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Thanks!

    Right after I posted here, I read the "I had an incident" thread, and this same unit was referenced. I have a low tax bill, this year, so I can get one of these, soon!

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    Regular Member drdan01's Avatar
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    Wow, that is some video!


    Quote Originally Posted by USNA69 View Post
    Fellow OCers,

    The subject of dashcams came up in another thread, but I wanted to begin a new one in order to give the issue visibility.

    Most of us already know the value of carrying a digital voice recorder (DVR). The dashcam is a logical extension of the ability to record an event for our legal protection. And, like DVRs and firearms, laws vary from state to state. We are a Virginia forum, but we also travel into nearby states and must be wary of the laws of those states.

    I had planned a trip to MD to visit a cousin and told him that I had purchased a dashcam. He warned me to be carful how I use it in MD.

    He cited two links to illustrate his warning:

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/05/29/ma...ay-its-illegal

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNcDGqzAB30

    Just as we do regarding our guns, we must do our homework, if we to venture into other states ... especially the Peoples Republic of Marylandistan.

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    Regular Member 2a4all's Avatar
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    Does the notion that the placement and size of the camera may interfere with the driver's vision or view of the road come into play here?

    Such issues do come into play with windshield mounted GPS systems, AKA "Dangling Objects".

    Code of VA 46.2-1054. Suspension of objects or alteration of vehicle so as to obstruct driver's view.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle on a highway in the Commonwealth with any object or objects, other than a rear view mirror, sun visor, or other equipment of the motor vehicle approved by the Superintendent, suspended from any part of the motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's clear view of the highway through the windshield, the front side windows, or the rear window, or to alter a passenger-carrying vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's view through the windshield. However, this section shall not apply (i) when the driver's clear view of the highway through the rear window is obstructed if such motor vehicle is equipped with a mirror on each side, so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle, (ii) to safety devices installed on the windshields of vehicles owned by private waste haulers or local governments and used to transport solid waste, or (iii) to bicycle racks installed on the front of any bus operated by any city, county, transit authority, or transit or transportation district.
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2a4all View Post
    Does the notion that the placement and size of the camera may interfere with the driver's vision or view of the road come into play here?

    Such issues do come into play with windshield mounted GPS systems, AKA "Dangling Objects".
    Code of VA 46.2-1054. Suspension of objects or alteration of vehicle so as to obstruct driver's view.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle on a highway in the Commonwealth with any object or objects, other than a rear view mirror, sun visor, or other equipment of the motor vehicle approved by the Superintendent, suspended from any part of the motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's clear view of the highway through the windshield, the front side windows, or the rear window, or to alter a passenger-carrying vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's view through the windshield. However, this section shall not apply (i) when the driver's clear view of the highway through the rear window is obstructed if such motor vehicle is equipped with a mirror on each side, so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for at least 200 feet to the rear of such vehicle, (ii) to safety devices installed on the windshields of vehicles owned by private waste haulers or local governments and used to transport solid waste, or (iii) to bicycle racks installed on the front of any bus operated by any city, county, transit authority, or transit or transportation district.
    Since LE isn't exempted, just point out it's mounted the same as his.....then wait for the BS to start flowing.

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    Not state specific, but this is a decent article on recording the police:

    http://gizmodo.com/5900680/7-rules-for-recording-police

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    "suspended from any part of the motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's clear view of the highway through the windshield"

    When the camera is mounted up near or behind the rear-view mirror, unless you are extremely tall, and your car has a very high head clearance, the camera does not block the view of the road, but of some part of the sky.

    Similarly for GPS units mounted by suction to the lower part of the windshield, unless you are extremely short, the GPS blocks a view of the hood of the car, not the highway.

    TFred

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    Regular Member 2a4all's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    "suspended from any part of the motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct the driver's clear view of the highway through the windshield"

    When the camera is mounted up near or behind the rear-view mirror, unless you are extremely tall, and your car has a very high head clearance, the camera does not block the view of the road, but of some part of the sky.

    Similarly for GPS units mounted by suction to the lower part of the windshield, unless you are extremely short, the GPS blocks a view of the hood of the car, not the highway.

    TFred
    I mentioned this because the police in Newport News are pushing the "No Dangling Objects" policy, and aren't limiting offenses to items actually suspended from the mirror.

    I suppose one could offer your arguments if stopped. If your camera were running, you'd have a record of the encounter.
    Last edited by 2a4all; 02-25-2013 at 03:10 PM.
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2a4all View Post
    I mentioned this because the police in Newport News are pushing the "No Dangling Objects" policy, and aren't limiting offenses to items actually suspended from the mirror.

    I suppose one could offer your arguments if stopped. If your camera were running, you'd have a record of the encounter.
    Well, it's also easy enough with a cell phone camera to take a picture from your eye position to show exactly what is behind the line of view of the object in question.

    TFred

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blk97F150 View Post
    Not state specific, but this is a decent article on recording the police:

    http://gizmodo.com/5900680/7-rules-for-recording-police
    Not a bad article but Va is pretty open. In public, they're fair game audio and video. If you're recording audio over an electronic communication or in private, you need to be a party of or have the consent of 1 party to the conversation.

    No obscene video's like hidden in dressing rooms, Etc and be very careful about videoing children.

    And no, cops don't like it one bit. I spent fifteen minutes once, videoing a cop who was videoing me with his cell phone after I refused to show ID or stop videoing.

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    Talk to the guy who does the state inspection on your vehicle. They will tell no lower than three inches from the top or higher than three inches for the bottom of your windshield. Basically the same rule that allows for inspection decal of county/town sticker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    And no, cops don't like it one bit. I spent fifteen minutes once, videoing a cop who was videoing me with his cell phone after I refused to show ID or stop videoing.
    A 'Youtube moment!'... lol

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blk97F150 View Post
    A 'Youtube moment!'... lol
    I had part of it here for a while.

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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Yep. I had a 4 inch decal across the top of my windshield. Lost it in a state inspection. And show me a GPS/mount combo that doesn't 'obstruct' more than 3 inches if attached to the windshield. The thing with cops, if they want to be butts, they will claim anything is 'obstructing' your vision.
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    Accomplished Advocate user's Avatar
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    Those statutes that prohibit surreptitious recording generally only prohibit recording other people's "private conversation". The following provides a witty explanation of Maryland's scheme (note in particular the cite in the opinion to a case called Hawes v. Carberry).

    http://mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2001/125a00.pdf

    So a private conversation is one in which the people talking have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Because these statutes were enacted as part of the 1968 Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, they were designed to limit the power of law enforcement to do illegal wiretaps. So the privacy scheme imported is the Fourth Amendment search and seizure logic, not the First Amendment privacy logic. Hence a "reasonable expectation of privacy" pretty much means that one controls the area and has a good reason to believe he cannot be overheard.

    Talking with a cop on the street gives no one a reasonable expectation of privacy. Here's an easy test: if a cop could legitimately and secretly record his conversation with you for use against you at trial without violating the Fourth Amendment evidentiary rules, then it's just as much ok for you to record him in the same situation.

    Taking pictures is ok, unless you're in a courtroom, secretly photographing people in a nude or seminude condition in which they have an expectation of privacy, or taking pictures for commercial use without authorization from the person being photographed. Not necessarily an exhaustive list, but those are the ones that spring to mind.

    Here's another wrinkle I think is important. The states that prohibit recording without consent of all parties, or that think "oral conversation" is the same as "private conversation" enacted the laws in the form they did in order to protect the corrupt lawgivers against recording in situations other than those requiring wiretap warrants. So you, as a LEO, can't call the Governor of Maryland and chat with him about his illegal betting and gambling, and expect to be able to use the evidence you acquired in court. See, that would be a felony in Maryland. So the states that have that kind of statute are those with a history of political and legal corruption. They are also the states with the most rigorous "gun control" laws. My suggestion, don't go into those states, and don't do business with people who are in those states. They are the way they are because they are not civilized countries. Ultimately it doesn't matter what the laws are from state to state if you can't rely on the legal systems of those states anyway. In Maryland, it's not a matter of being a law-abiding, socially responsible citizen, it's being an important person, that counts.

    We criticize Virginia's legal system a lot on this board, but I'll tell you as an objective observer, we're a helluva a lot better off than most states. You can at least have a hope of getting a fair trial here. I'd just as soon be in Iran or the People's Republic of China as in Massachussetts or Illinois, though.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    Regular Member half_life1052's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    We criticize Virginia's legal system a lot on this board, but I'll tell you as an objective observer, we're a helluva a lot better off than most states. You can at least have a hope of getting a fair trial here. I'd just as soon be in Iran or the People's Republic of China as in Massachussetts or Illinois, though.
    You didn't mention NY. I lived there long enough to say it belongs at the top of your list. Just sayin . . .

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    Accomplished Advocate user's Avatar
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    Ok, here's my personal list of places to avoid: New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachussetts, Illinois, California, Hawaii, and to a lesser extent, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Michigan.

    Question about mounting a "dash cam" with LED infrared illumination: don't you get a lot of glare in the picture from reflection off the windshield at night?
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    Regular Member half_life1052's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    Ok, here's my personal list of places to avoid: New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachussetts, Illinois, California, Hawaii, and to a lesser extent, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Michigan.

    Question about mounting a "dash cam" with LED infrared illumination: don't you get a lot of glare in the picture from reflection off the windshield at night?
    You do indeed get glare from anything that is reflective to IR light if the IR LEDs are on. The ones on our vehicles are not equiped with IR lights for this reason. I have seen clips from the unit on amazon showing night recordings. They don't exhibit the problem so there must be a way to turn them off. The camera must be dual mode day/night because it is a color picture during the day. Come to think of it, the night shots were also color so maybe I am wrong and the IRs just weren't on because of ambient light. I will let you know after I have tested the unit I ordered. It should be here day after tomorrow.

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    Regular Member scouser's Avatar
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    so how many people ordered one of these cameras this week? Mine should be here tomorrow, then I'll be able to start my collection of 'just look how stupid this person is' movies of people who think attempting to cut off an 18 wheeler loaded with gasoline on 360 near Woodlake makes them the next Danica Patrick .. and that's just the male drivers.

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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    I might have to pick up one of those under $25 cameras. Neat.
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    Activist Member nuc65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by half_life1052 View Post
    You do indeed get glare from anything that is reflective to IR light if the IR LEDs are on. The ones on our vehicles are not equiped with IR lights for this reason. I have seen clips from the unit on amazon showing night recordings. They don't exhibit the problem so there must be a way to turn them off. The camera must be dual mode day/night because it is a color picture during the day. Come to think of it, the night shots were also color so maybe I am wrong and the IRs just weren't on because of ambient light. I will let you know after I have tested the unit I ordered. It should be here day after tomorrow.
    Placing the lens against the glass or as close as possible will minimize the reflection/glare from the IR.
    When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

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    i use my GOPRO camera for a dash cam and i works great. i have a bunch of the stickey mounts placed all over the jeep to catch rock crawler footage but i use it as a dashcam when not wheeling.

    the new gopro3 blacks have a wifi system built in that allows you to turn the camera on and off from your phone.

    the audio and video quality is top notch, alot of the close up shots on mythbusters during explosions are shot with go pros

    you can also get a mount to slap the camera on your pistol or rifle

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    Regular Member mtbinva's Avatar
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    Dash/Windshield Mounted Video Cameras and State Laws

    Mine came in the mail today. I purchased the one from amazon. Anyone use theirs yet? Thoughts? Tips?
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