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In this day and age, a lot of law enforcement activities are captured on video. Often, law enforcement officers use dash cam videos and body cams while they’re on patrol. That means when they investigate a drunk driving case, there might be video available of the investigation and arrest. Often times, this works to the favor of the person that’s charged.
Many times, a dash cam runs automatically while an officer is on duty. It often sits on a vehicle’s dashboard to capture anything that comes along. In some cases, the video starts to record when an officer turns on their flashing lights. Some departments produce video back to thirty seconds before an officer turns on their flashing lights.
In many cases, law enforcement provides these videos automatically when your Los Angeles DUI attorneys request discovery in your case. In other cases, your attorney might have to make a special request. Either way, these videos might be the most important part of your defense. Your attorney knows how to file the paperwork to request the videos from the state attorney or directly from the law enforcement agency that conducted the investigation.
A video can show where an officer made a mistake in the investigation process. The officer might write that you weaved over the center line, but the video might show that this isn’t the case. The officer might write that you failed field sobriety tests, but the video might show just the opposite. What an officer thinks is definitive proof of your intoxication might not be enough for the jury.
When an officer performs field sobriety tests, they have to do them a certain way. These tests are standardized. They’re only effective when they’re performed the way that they should be. If the officer deviates from the script, your tests are likely not a valid indicator of whether you’re over the legal limit. Your attorney might be able to make a quick defense of your case if they’re able to use the video to show the jury where the officer made mistakes.
An officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop a moving vehicle. They can’t just stop any vehicle that they see. If the officer didn’t have a good faith reason to believe that you violated a law or part of the California Vehicle Code, your attorney can file court documents using California Vehicle Code Section 1538.5 PC in order to have the evidence suppressed. If the judge agrees that the officer violated your constitutional rights, the result can be that your entire case is dismissed before it even goes to trial.
Your experienced attorney can help evaluate if the department that conducted your investigation uses dash or body cams. The largest police departments, Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, are some of the slowest departments in California to add this technology. However, many smaller jurisdictions have video available in many cases. The California Highway Patrol uses MVARS, which stands for Mobile Audio/Video Recording Systems.
If you’re facing a drunk driving charge, it’s important to work with an experienced DUI attorney. They can take the necessary steps to determine if a video exists in your case. If it does, they can make a legal demand that the state produce the evidence.
A video can mean the difference between an acquittal and a conviction. Your attorney can help you evaluate the video in your case to see if the officer made mistakes or violated your constitutional rights. The sooner you contact a drunk driving lawyer, the sooner they can go to work on your case.