What Types of Audio/Video Recordings Are Available As Discovery In A DUI Case?
Most police officers throughout California have an MVARS, which is a camera that will typically start recording once the officer turns on their lights to conduct a traffic stop. The camera is also capable of providing a recording of what occurred in the minute preceding the stop. Officers have the ability to turn on the camera at any time and are supposed to leave the camera on during the course of a stop. Audio and video recordings of a stop or of the officer conducting field sobriety tests are very helpful to us. However, officers often move detainees out of view of the camera, and despite having the option to, they will not move the angle of the camera to ensure that footage is captured.
Most non-CHP officers, sheriffs, PDs, and local officers have body cameras attached to their chests. These cameras can provide audio and video recordings of an interaction that an officer has with a suspect. Unfortunately, many officers turn off their body cameras, despite the fact that they are not supposed to. In some cases, a CAD recording or record of police communication between officers and dispatch will be useful to us. We can obtain a printed version of the audio, which allows us to determine when a 911 call occurred and what exactly was reported. In all cases, we ask for these forms of evidence.
Can Video Or Audio Evidence Ever Be Inadmissible Or Suppressed In A DUI Case?
Video or audio evidence can be suppressed in a DUI case through a suppression motion. This is a motion that we would file if we wanted to argue that the stop and/or investigation was conducted illegally and that the evidence gathered from it should therefore, be suppressed. For example, if we were able to show that an officer decided to conduct a traffic stop based only on a driver having touched the lane line a couple of times, then we may be able to argue that the reason for the initial stop was insufficient. If we were to be successful in arguing this, then any evidence collected during the stop would be inadmissible in court.
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