Many people that have been arrested for DUI ask whether the DUI investigation that was conducted was captured on video. The answer is sometimes. Some or all of the investigation may have been recorded. Many law enforcement agencies utilize both video and audio recordings during DUI investigations. For example, most California Highway Patrol cars have a "Dash Cam" installed. This is also called the "MVARS," short for "Mobile Video Audio Recording System," or "DCIVS," short for "Digital In-Car Video System." The Dash Cam is installed in the vehicle's dashboard so it provides a view through the vehicle's front window. Dash Cam footage is frequently seen on the news of police officer encounters with suspects. If there is Dash Cam footage of your DUI arrest, it is important for your DUI Lawyer to obtain a copy. One reason is that there may be an issue as to why the officer pulled a person over. Remember a police officer needs to have "reasonable suspicion" that a traffic violation has been committed before initiating a traffic stop. For example, a police report may state that the officer pulled over the driver because he observed their vehicle weaving outside of the lane. However, the Dash Cam video does not show any such weaving like the officer said in his report. This is evidence that the police report was inaccurate. If the driver was not weaving then there was not "reasonable suspicion" that a traffic offense had been committed and the officer should not have pulled the driver over. In this situation, a Fourth Amendment violation has occurred and all the evidence obtained against the driver during the DUI investigation following the traffic stop will be excluded from evidence. Without this evidence the DUI charges will be dismissed. Read more about DUI Fourth Amendment violations on our DUI BLOG.
Law enforcement officers may also wear body cameras or helmet cameras. Body cameras are usually placed on the chest of the officer. Helmet cameras are placed on headgear that the officer is wearing. Body and helmet camera footage may be very helpful to assist DUI Lawyers in their review of the police reports and investigations, particularly if the video captures the person performing the field sobriety tests. A good DUI Lawyer will carefully view the footage and compare it to what has been stated in the police report. If the officer exaggerated in the police report about how the person performed on the FST's, this can be pointed out to the prosecutor during plea negotiations or to the jury during trial. For example, the report may state that during the "Walk-and-Turn" test the person stepped off the line three times during the first nine steps and four times during the second nine steps. This would suggest that the person was having difficulty walking and, therefore, is evidence of impairment. However, if the video footage shows the person did not step off the line, or stepped off the line fewer times than what is described in the report, it shows that it is less likely the person was impaired. It also calls into question the honesty of the officer that wrote the report, who obviously was not truthful. This is one important reason why body and helmet camera video can be very helpful in reviewing a DUI case.
Similarly, many officers that do not have body or helmet cameras use audio recordings of their interaction with suspected DUI drivers. While not as good as having video, audio recordings can still be helpful to a DUI Lawyer. The audio will capture the conversation between the officers and the driver. One of the objective symptoms of intoxication that is frequently found present for persons arrested for DUI is "slurred speech." The audio will either confirm or refute whether a person's speech was slurred. Officers may also describe a DUI suspect as being argumentative or belligerent during the investigation. Audio will prove or disprove this allegation.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, it is important to have an experienced DUI Lawyer to represent you. Berglund Law Office, P.C. specializes in representing individuals in the unfortunate situation of having been arrested for DUI. CONTACT our office today for a free and confidential consultation.