You could be arrested. Do you know what to do?
It's not very common. But it does happen. Occasionally camgirls are arrested and charged with lewdness or obscenity.
But isn't what we do legal?
Well one thing to keep in mind is that you can be arrested even if you are not guilty. The government has to prove you are guilty to convict you. But that doesn't mean they cannot cause trouble in your life short of proving you committed a crime. For example 2011 saw camgirl Kimberly Kupps arrested in Florida on multiple counts of obscenity including one felony charge for distribution. Those charges were eventually dropped but not before causing a big disruption in life and business for her and her husband. Also, as attorney Lawrence Walters describes "local licensing and permitting laws may govern the production of a live broadcast, or modeling session." The tolerance of each community for erotic activities varies. But running afoul of local laws could lead to being investigated, fined, shut down or even arrested.
Unfortunately the legal protections in the justice system only partially protect us. Very little thought has been given to the fact that the police don't always care about getting a conviction. Some arrests are just about pressure. It is possible they will consider it a victory just to make your life miserable enough that it makes you to stop camming or seek life somewhere else. This practice of "moving her on" is a centuries old law enforcement tactic when in comes to sex workers. Another problem is that some cops, like sheriff Grady Judd that arrested Kimberly Kupps are moral crusaders. They will abuse their power to make a political point and to be popular with their own circle of churchgoing prudes (some of which are secretly our best customers, I know right?)
Finally, although we have a First Amendment right to make and share porn that right does not protect so called obscenity. The way obscenity is defined is both vague and illogical. In practice it boils down to a subjective opinion. And this means that the authorities might at least try to convince a judge or jury that something you did online was obscene. It sucks, but it is possible.
Add this all up and there is at least some risk of a camgirl getting arrested. Any arrest is a serious disruption to life. I treat the risk like I like any other likely emergency: preparation and planning is the best peace of mind. Here are the guidelines I personally use to stay prepared.
First and foremost I will stay calm. In a stressful situation we can tend to get tunnel vision and feel the reflexive need to react immediately. When it comes to the justice system I will remember that it's better to stay calm, consider my actions, and use time to my advantage.
Secondly. I won't talk to the police voluntarily under any circumstances. Aside from my name, address and identification I will politely but firmly assert my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. And then no matter what happens I will wait to tell my side of the story only to my own attorney. This lecture by a law professor and a former cop is a great explanation as to why talking to the police can hurt me and does nothing to help.
Some of us won't be able to afford an attorney but we are usually entitled to a public defender when we are arrested. This right is real even if no one reads it out loud like on TV. In any case even if I don't know which specific lawyer is coming to defend me I will still tell the police that I will not talk to them until I have been advised by my lawyer.
Third, even though I will assert my rights I will always be polite and respectful. Most police are simply doing a job the best way they know how, even when they're or their superiors are wrong. I definitely don't think there is anything to be gained by being rude, snarky or threatening. If anything it will just make them find ways to be less pleasant or even retaliate.
Fourth, I will never consent to any searches no matter what. The police will always want my consent to conduct their searches even if they don't believe they need it. Even if they believe they have a solid reason to search me, my home, or my car,etc police will still often be very persistent about asking if they can search. I believe they do this because probable cause or the affidavit sworn to support a warrant can be challenged later on. But your own consent is very hard to take back. I was once asked for consent at a traffic stop more than 3 dozen times and I refused every single one. In the end a police dog sniffed around my car, didn't find anything, and they let me go.
Fifth, I will concentrate on remembering details of what happens. If not prevented I will take notes or record with my phone. Details to look for are badge numbers, names, license plate numbers, and police car numbers. If I'm not able to take notes at the time I will write down as much as I remember as soon as possible. Information is power and these details can help me or my lawyer track down witnesses and reconstruct events later on. It also gives me something to concentrate on in staying calm.
Sixth, I will remember that there is such a thing as a dishonest cop. None of the cops no matter how friendly are my friends. There is no requirement that they be honest with me. I will expect them to lie to me to get me incriminate myself, give up my rights, or put me at a disadvantage. Being arrested is a potentially dangerous situation. So I will stay alert to the dangers but remain calm. I won't resist or do anything to provoke violence or abuse. If I am abused I still will not resist. Sadly and scarily police abuse of power is something can only be dealt with afterward. But I would document any injuries as soon as I was able.
So, that above is my personal safety plan in case I am stopped by police or arrested. Remember this just my own example of advanced planning and is not legal advice for you. You might have additional considerations that don't apply to me. One example could be a different immigration status. You should do your own research, become familiar with your rights and think ahead about how you might handle it. This article has been an example of what can be gained by having a prepared mindset. If you need specific legal advice you should talk to a lawyer.