Code of the District of Columbia

§ 22–3214.02. Unlawful operation of a recording device in a motion picture theater.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) “Motion picture theater” means a theater or other auditorium in which a motion picture is exhibited.

(2) “Recording device” means a photographic or video camera, audio or video recorder, or any other device not existing, or later developed, which may be used for recording sounds or images.

(b) A person commits the offense of unlawfully operating a recording device in a motion picture theater if, without authority or permission from the owner of a motion picture theater, or his or her agent, that person operates a recording device within the premises of a motion picture theater.

(c) Any person convicted of unlawfully operating a recording device in a motion picture theater shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or imprisoned for not more than 90 days, or both.

(d) A theater owner, or an employee or agent of a theater owner, who detains or causes the arrest of a person in, or immediately adjacent to, a motion picture theater shall not be held liable for detention, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, defamation, or false arrest in any proceeding arising out of such detention or arrest, if:

(1) The person detaining or causing the arrest had, at the time thereof, probable cause to believe that the person detained or arrested had committed, or attempted to commit, in that person’s presence, an offense described in this section;

(2) The manner of the detention or arrest was reasonable;

(3) Law enforcement authorities were notified within a reasonable time; and

(4) The person detained or arrested was released within a reasonable time of the detention or arrest, or was surrendered to law enforcement authorities within a reasonable time.


(Dec. 1, 1982, D.C. Law 4-164, § 114b; as added Oct. 31, 1995, D.C. Law 11-73, § 2(b), 42 DCR 3277; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 205(e), 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3814.2.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “not more than $300” in (c).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 205(e) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.