You have heard about body cams, but do they come into play in court? Georgia police wear body cams (small cameras attached to their uniforms) and also have dashboard cameras. These cameras are used to record traffic stops, DUI stops, and interactions with suspects. They can also become invaluable evidence if the matter proceeds to court. This footage is especially helpful in DUI cases, as police often perform field sobriety tests. Without video evidence showing how the defendant performed in the field sobriety tests, the court is forced to rely on the word of the officer. This can be helpful to defendants, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Using Body Cam Footage in Court
If you are facing DUI charges in Georgia, it’s important to know whether the police have dash cam or body cam footage of your stop. Your attorney can subpoena this footage and review it so that you can best be prepared for trial and have a strong defense. If the footage contradicts the officer’s account of events, it will hurt their credibility and strengthen your case. In criminal court, a defendant must be convicted by a very high evidentiary standard. To prove that someone is guilty, the jury must determine that the defendant has committed the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that anything that can create doubt in the mind of the jury can reduce your chances of being convicted. Poking holes in the officer’s perception and account of the encounter can help create doubt about whether you were really under the influence.
Additionally, reviewing the footage can provide a basis for challenging the evidence against you. For instance, if an officer arrested you for DUI because you could not keep your balance while standing on one leg, the video may reveal that the ground was uneven. It may also simply draw your attention to the parts of your case where a defense is most needed. For example, if you can see in the recording that you seem off balance, you will know that is something that you will need an explanation for. In this way, the footage can help shape and support your defense.
Is Body Cam Footage Public Record?
Georgia laws seem to make most body cam footage available to the public until you start reading through the exceptions. Body cam footage is not available to the public by request if it was taken anywhere where there was a reasonable expectation of privacy, however, it is generally available to the suspect or subject of the recording, as well as the parents of the subject if they were a minor, and anyone involved in criminal or civil litigation relating to the footage. Body cam footage must be kept for a minimum of six months, and much longer if the footage depicts an accident, arrest, or becomes relevant to civil or criminal litigation. In any case, it is always best to request footage as soon as possible.
Schedule a Consultation with Ghanayem & Rayasam in Atlanta, Georgia
If you are facing criminal charges in Atlanta, Georgia, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Ghanayem & Rayasam are ready to fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact Ghanayem & Rayasam today to schedule your personalized consultation.