Accused of a Crime? Security Camera Footage Could Get You Off the Hook

Footage of crimes captured by security cameras may help prove people innocent of committing the offenses, and thus, prevent false convictions. Business owners, homeowners, and others install security cameras to deter criminal activity. With the potential for having their actions captured on camera, people may think twice about engaging in illegal activities in the area.

Security Cameras as Silent Witnesses

Security cameras may capture events and the recorded videos show exactly what transpired. The footage from such cameras may provide invaluable evidence for law enforcement as they look for perpetrators of crimes. For the wrongly accused, security camera footage may help prove at trial that they were not in the area or that they did not commit the offense they stand charged with.

Closed-circuit television or security camera footage does not have the same potential for contamination that witness testimony has. For instance, people’s biases, the stress of the situation, or the presence of a weapon may skew their recollections of events. Further, how law enforcement interviews them or the procedures used for suspect identifications may influence the way in which people recall events they witness. Cameras, however, simply record the events and how they occur, allowing people to go back and watch them just as they happened.

The Legalities of Video Surveillance

Even if installed on private property, laws exist for the use of CCTV and security cameras. State law prohibits secretly installing or using video recording devices in areas where people have reasonable expectations of privacy. For example, this may include changing rooms, restrooms, and locker rooms. Setting up cameras in such areas, then, may result in civil violations of people’s privacy.

Admissibility of Security Camera Footage

With few exceptions, the court may allow defendants to submit security camera footage as evidence at trial. Such footage must be legally recorded and obtained for the court to admit it. For example, a security camera installed in a public restroom captures an assault. In such an area, those involved may reasonably expect they will not be watched or otherwise surveilled. Therefore, the court may find the footage was illegally recorded and, as a result, disallow it or throw it out as evidence.

Part of defending against erroneous criminal charges may involve looking for all possible evidence, including security camera footage, to support people’s claims of innocence.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.
Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.