Video Evidence in DUI Cases
During a DUI stop, video footage may be recorded by a body camera, police vehicle dash camera, or even a security camera located at a gas station or on other private property. In some cases, video footage may help a defendant. In other cases, it may help the prosecution establish its case. You may have concerns about video footage that captured what happened to you during a DUI stop by supporting the testimony of the officers. A knowledgeable attorney will work to obtain any available video to determine whether it is congruous with officer statements regarding your behavior during a DUI stop and whether it provides any basis for defense. If you have been arrested for drunk driving, you should consult Phoenix DUI lawyer and former prosecutor James E. Novak about the use of video evidence in DUI cases.Video Evidence in DUI Cases
Like other crimes, driving under the influence must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The police must have a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing to pull over a driver and probable cause to arrest them. Police reports often describe actions that the arresting officer depended upon to pull over or arrest a suspect. If the police pull you over, they’ll observe you closely to determine whether you are intoxicated. They may ask you to complete field sobriety test in order to secure evidence of intoxication. Visual signs of intoxication can include bloodshot eyes, glassy eyes, dilated pupils, drooping eyelids, swaying, and loss of coordination. Securing a DUI conviction may depend on how well the prosecutor can persuade the jury that officer testimony and descriptions in the police reports are accurate. Video footage may bolster or upend the prosecutor’s efforts.Admissibility
The prosecutor shouldn’t obstruct your access to video evidence or illegally alter or conceal it. Under Arizona Rule of Evidence 403 and federal law, even relevant evidence can be excluded if it’s probative value if substantially outweighed by the risk of confusion, unfair prejudice, wasting time, cumulative evidence, and misleading of the jury. The video evidence in your DUI case can’t be presented for the purpose of showing your character – it can’t be used to show you are the type of person to commit a DUI – though it can be used to show your identity or knowledge, and certain other factors.
Video evidence will usually be admitted if it is an accurate and fair representation of what was observed by witnesses. However, sometimes video presented by the prosecution has been edited or is used in a distorting fashion, and it’s important to point that out when it’s the case. Either party can challenge the credibility of the video evidence.Building a Defense with Video Footage
Video footage can be critical to your defense. Suppose, for instance, you were pulled over at a gas station and the police improperly administered the field sobriety tests. If you can provide video footage showing that an officer’s claims of what happened are false, that may be enough to secure a dismissal. Video footage may also be useful in plea deal negotiations with the prosecution. Alternatively, you may be able to use the video footage to call into question the officer’s testimony and raise reasonable doubt at trial.Failure to Preserve Video Evidence
In some cases, the state fails to preserve video recordings that were taken during a DUI stop or after an arrest, even though it would have acted as exculpatory evidence. The nuances of your case will determine whether this is a due process violation or not. You will have to demonstrate either (1) the state’s bad faith or (2) substantial prejudice to you because of the state’s failure to preserve material evidence.
The state’s suppression of video evidence that is favorable to you after that evidence has been requested is a due process violation if the evidence is material to your punishment or guilt.Hire a Seasoned Phoenix Attorney
Video evidence in DUI cases should be thoroughly reviewed. Consider discussing the charges brought against you with James E. Novak, a seasoned DUI lawyer. Mr. Novak has many years of experience representing those charged with DUIs in Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler, Mesa, and throughout Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.