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Can Body Cam Footage be Used in Your DUI Case?

Updated on March 15, 2023 → Under

It is no secret that many law enforcement officers make DUI arrests based on the way a suspect looks or sounds. When arresting suspected drunk drivers, law enforcement agents regularly lookout for suspects with watery or bloodshot eyes and for people who may be slurring their speech.

But most of this “evidence” in DUI arrests is based on opinion. The best way to determine the real facts of a drunk driving stop and arrest is to go to the body camera footage. The use of body cameras is becoming increasingly common by the police department across the country and throughout Illinois. You may be surprised to learn how body camera footage can affect your drunk driving case. 

Body Camera Evidence in Illinois DUI Cases

Videotaping all or portions of driving under the influence stops and arrests is a common practice among law enforcement agencies for years. Today, more than 72% of highway patrols and state law enforcement officers have dashboard cameras installed on their motor vehicles.

While these cameras are popularly used, they only capture part of the image. That's because in-dash cameras can only film what's directly in front of them. If the police officer asks the suspect to perform a series of field sobriety tests and steps away from the frame during a drunk driving investigation, the results of those field sobriety tests won't be recorded. The only “evidence” in such a case would be the law enforcement officer’s opinion as to how the suspected drunk driver performed.

With the aid of body cameras, DUI criminal defense attorneys, and prosecutors can view a suspect as closely as the police officer. Body camera footage provides a first-hand view of the suspected drunk driver's physical appearance and behavior and all interactions between the police officer and suspect. This means that a prosecutor no longer has to rely simply on a police report and other “evidence” gathered from the law enforcement officers’ opinions.

Be Prepared: What to do After You get a DUI

If you were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, law enforcement officers almost always turn on their police dashcam to record the video or audio footage of the traffic stop and everything that happens following it. Everything you do, and everything you say, will be recorded and used as potential evidence at your drunk driving trial. Body-worn camera video technology has become clearer and more hi-definition over the years, so if you are pulled over, remember everything is being recorded. Do not say anything that could hurt your case or incriminate you. If the law enforcement officer asks if you have been drinking, politely decline to respond to the officer's questions.

If you have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Illinois, it is extremely crucial to obtain the body-worn camera recordings from the criminal investigation as quickly as possible. The sooner your DUI criminal defense attorney can see the video footage, the more time they'll have to start building legal defenses.

Body Cam Footage be Used in a DUI Case

Who Benefits from Body Camera Audio-Visual Files?

Digital evidence has a significant effect on verdicts in court proceedings all over the U.S. Body cam footage taken by arresting police officers helps both prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys in building and presenting their DUI cases.

Video evidence can show police officer misconduct during a DUI arrest, thereby benefitting you. The prosecution can also use body cam footage to prove their case against you.

Many police agencies require traffic police officers to carry body cameras together with their standard dash-cams found on the dashboard of patrol vehicles. The camera records how the actions of police officers with drivers and their passengers during traffic stops or roadblocks.

DUI criminal charges are a brilliant example of how body camera videos can benefit either the defendant or prosecution’s case. The technology makes sure that the entire engagement between both parties is recorded and logged as potential evidence in the case of a DUI arrest.

Body cameras record the behavior of police officers with driver and their passengers, noting any verbal abuse or physical violence. An experienced DUI attorney in Chicago can request the body camera footage to determine the conduct and adherence to police policies.

During a court trial, the prosecutor presents evidence in front of a criminal court judge and jury. Defendants and arresting police officers are often summoned to testify about their involvement with the drunk driving case. While on the stand, both the arresting officer and the defendant can exaggerate or lie about what transpired during the arrest of the defendant.

Body cameras provide an unbiased view of the DUI arrest and all parties involved. Jurors are more likely to find an arresting police officer or defendant trustworthy when they can see the party's behavior first hand. Therefore, the body cam evidence is crucial in cases where the suspected drunk driver wants to prove their innocence.

Learn More: How to Beat a DUI

If you were arrested for intoxicated driving in Chicago or anywhere in Illinois, you may face very severe legal consequences. A skilled Chicago DUI criminal defense attorney can help you in combating these criminal charges by reviewing the body cam footage and other additional evidence. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation with the experienced DUI lawyers at Dohman Law Group, call our Rolling Meadows law office today at (847) 616-9993

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