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DUI and Video Evidence

  • May 25, 2017

    Nowadays, due in a major part because of the public outcry about how various law enforcement officers have handled certain situations, more and more law enforcement agencies are using dash cameras, body cameras and other types of cameras to capture footage when they interact with defendants. Because of this, there might be a chance that there is video footage out there that can affect your case and that your Los Angeles DUI attorney can get possession of. However, while video footage can sometimes positively affect your case, the opposite may also be true, depending on what is shown in the video.

    What Types of Video Evidence Might Be Available for Your DUI Case?

    The first type of video evidence that might be available is dash cam footage from the arresting officer’s car. In many cases, this footage will capture both the driving conduct prior to the traffic stop and much of what goes on during the stop itself. This footage can help your case if it shows that the officer did not have probable cause to pull you over in the first place or if it shows a good performance in your field sobriety tests. However, if the dash cam footage shows erratic driving or if it shows that you are obviously inebriated when you get out of the car, it could hurt your case.

    Although not as common as dash cam footage, body camera footage has become much more popular in recent years and even in recent months. This footage, which is captured by a camera that the officer actually physically wears on his or her body, can show much more of the interaction between you and the officer throughout the entire ordeal, from when the officer first approaches the car beyond.

    Additionally, there might be video footage out there that will help your case that is not in the possession of law enforcement or the prosecution. For example, if a nearby business has surveillance cameras, these cameras might have captured footage of your field sobriety test or other parts of the stop.

    Is Video Evidence Available in Your Case?

    Even though an initial discovery packet is turned over to the defense attorney at the time of arraignment, it often will not include any footage. However, your Los Angeles DUI lawyer can submit a request for the prosecution to turn this video evidence over. If the prosecuting attorney refuses to do so, there are motions that your attorney can file so that the court will order the evidence to be turned over.

    If your lawyer wants video evidence that the prosecution might not be in possession of, such as video evidence from an area business’ surveillance cameras, a subpoena may have to be filed.

    Will Video Evidence Be Helpful in Your Case?

    Whether or not the video evidence that is out there is actually helpful for your case depends on a lot of things. Obviously, footage that shows you driving erratically or stumbling around during your field sobriety test is probably not going to be very helpful and could actually hurt your case.

    However, if there is footage that shows that you were driving responsibly and that there was no reason for the officer to pull you over, your lawyer might be able to file a motion to have your case dismissed. Footage that shows you “passing” the field sobriety test or behaving in a sober manner can also be helpful.

    Dealing with things like video evidence can be tough if you do not have experience in the legal world. If you are facing a DUI and would like the best possible representation for your case, contact us so that one of our Los Angeles DUI lawyers can assist you

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