It is no secret that many police officers make arrests based on the way a suspect sounds or looks. When it comes to arresting suspected drunk drivers, police are regularly on the lookout for suspects with bloodshot or watery eyes and for individuals who may be slurring their speech.
But much of this “evidence” is based on opinion. The best way to determine the real facts of a DUI stop and arrest is to go to the tape. The use of body cameras is becoming increasingly common by law enforcement officers across the country and throughout Georgia. You may be surprised to learn how this can impact your DUI case.
Videotaping all or portions of a DUI stop and arrest has been a common practice among police officers for years. In fact, the Department of Justice incentivized the installation of in-dash cameras in the early 2000s. Today, more than 72 percent of highway patrol and state police officers have dashboard cameras installed on their vehicles.
While these cameras are widely used, they only capture part of the picture. An in-dash camera can only film what is directly in front of it. If the officer asks the suspect to complete a series of field sobriety tests and steps out of frame during a DUI investigation, the results of those tests will not be recorded. The only “evidence” in such a case would be the officer’s opinion as to how the suspect performed.
Capturing DUI Evidence
With the aid of body cameras, defense attorneys, and prosecutors have the benefit of viewing a suspect as closely as the officer. Body cameras provide a first-hand view of the suspect’s behavior and physical appearance, as well as all interactions between the officer and suspect. This means that prosecutors will no longer be able to rely simply on police reports and other “evidence” gathered from the officers’ opinions.
Footage in Your DUI Case
If you were arrested for DUI, the police almost always turn on their police dash cam to record the audio and video of the stop and everything that happens after it. Everything you say, and everything you do, will be clearly recorded and used as police evidence at your DUI trial. DUI police video technology has become clearer and more hi-def over the years, so if you are pulled over, remember you are being recorded very clearly. Do not say anything that may incriminate you. If the police officer asks if you have been drinking, politely decline to answer the question.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI in Georgia, it is extremely important to obtain the video footage from the investigation as quickly as possible. The sooner your attorney can see the video, the more time he or she will have to begin building a solid defense.