Can Video Surveillance Be Used In Court?

You should talk to a law enforcement professional in your area to know for sure what is admissible in your local court, but here are some general guidelines about criteria that law enforcement will take into consideration regarding your security camera video.


A digital watermark is undetectable to the human eye, but it can be detected by computers, DVD recorders, digital cameras, or other devices with the correct software. A digital watermark identifies the video or audio file’s copyright information. Digital watermarks cannot be removed or altered, which means it is a way for law enforcement to verify that the surveillance camera video is authentic and has not been modified. Most manufacturers of digital video recording devices have watermark settings already placed in their equipment, but if not, it can be added for an additional fee.  

Demonstrating the video footage's authenticity is important if it is going to be considered as evidence in court. Re-creating a video or editing it in any way might make it inadmissible in the proceedings.  

Accurate Timeline 

A time and date stamp can be a part of the digital watermark and must match up with the chain of events that have been reported to law enforcement. Make sure you adjust the manufacturer settings on the camera to match your local time zone when you install the camera and that it is appropriately adjusted for daylight savings time.  

Video Quality 

One of the reasons digital security cameras have increased in popularity over the traditional analog video is because it offers the ability to record in extremely high resolution, allowing for the camera to perform functions like facial recognition, license plate recognition, and the ability to digitally zoom distance of more than 100 feet. A video that is going to be used in court must be bright enough to identify the person accused of committing the crime.  

Remember, it’s not only the camera that impacts the quality of the video. Proper lighting, especially for outdoor video recording, is vital for ensuring video clarity. Selecting the appropriate cameras for different areas of your property and knowing the Best Outdoor Security Cameras are very important considerations. 


One of the key factors in having video evidence that can be considered in a court case is that an attorney must lay the grounds to show the footage is relevant to the case itself.  

Legal Surveillance 

Although you can install video cameras on your property, there is always a “reasonable expectation of privacy” that is assumed in private spaces like bathrooms, changing areas, and bedrooms. Any footage from areas that are a potential invasion of privacy may be disqualified as evidence. Understanding where security cameras should be installed in a business is critical when placing security cameras in your business.
In addition to these critical factors, you need to know the law in your area about where electronic monitoring devices can be placed, particularly if you are a business owner. Check out our blog, Are CCTV Cameras Illegal in the Workplace, for more information, and be sure to double-check with local law enforcement officials.

If you would like to have your home or business covered with surveillance cameras in the event of an emergency, give us a call. We provide free estimates and are always happy to answer any questions you may have! 


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