In a DUI / DWI court case, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual is guilty of every element of the offense of drunk driving. To achieve this goal, the prosecutor will seek to introduce evidence that supports the case.
Increasingly, police are using closed-circuit cameras to record a motorist’s actions before and during a traffic stop as evidence to support the arrest. Some cameras aren’t equipped with sound capabilities, but police agencies are increasingly using microphones attached to officers’ uniforms to provide audio recordings. This type of evidence is of utmost importance to a defense attorney fighting a drunk driving case.
The recording may include not only the interaction between the officer and the defendant, but also the motorist’s driving patterns prior to the stop, and the performance of field sobriety tests.
The prosecutor likely will want to use this evidence to help convict the driver, but some recordings actually support the defense. A recording of a driver performing all tests with flying colors will go a long way in defending the position that the defendant was not intoxicated. Additionally, the recordings may refute a police report that states that the defendant had slurred speech or a staggering gait.
However, the taping itself is done by police, not professional cameramen or sound engineers. The video recording may be under questionable lighting conditions and the sound quality may be very poor. The entire stop may not be recorded – for example, the officers may only have taped the most incriminating aspects of the stop and arrest, giving an unreliable and unfair representation of the event. An experienced and qualified DUI / DWI attorney will argue to exclude this evidence in court.