New Jersey DWI and Police Body Cameras
Body cameras are becoming more and more common with law enforcement agencies across the country. Thousands of police officers in New Jersey wear these small, high-tech cameras every day, capturing important evidence that can be crucial in some DWI cases.
Why Body Cameras Work
First and foremost, body cameras offer a level of safety for both the officer and the suspected drunk driver. With traditional dash-mounted cameras, field sobriety tests had to be conducted in front of the officer’s car. In the event of an oncoming car hitting the police vehicle, both the suspect and the officer could have sustained serious injuries. With body cameras, the officer can take the suspect to a safe location of the officer’s choosing and still capture the field sobriety test on film.
Not only are body cameras convenient, they also produce better quality video and audio than traditional dash-cameras. It is easy to see the way a suspect speaks and acts on video captured from these cameras at the exact same vantage point as the police officer.
Of course, there are limitations to body cameras. They do not always produce very high-quality video in dark or low-light situations. And if the officer is not facing the subject exactly during the field sobriety test, some of the suspect’s performance may not be captured.
However, some video of a stop and arrest is better than no video at all as it helps remove doubt regarding subjective pieces of the DWI investigation. For example, if the officer said the defendant was stumbling and the defendant said that she was not, the video will show what really happened.
Video Evidence and DWI Defense
Video can be an important piece of evidence at trial. It can also be helpful in avoiding trial altogether. Good video evidence may help determine whether or not the state has a strong enough case to proceed with trial.