Criminal Defense Lawyer in Washington State, Attorney Phillip L Weinberg

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Are DUI Stops recorded?

Was my DUI stop or arrest filmed and/or recorded by the police?

Only 30-40% of the stops are video/audio recorded. This is done in that percentage of patrol vehicles (e., squad cars) that have onboard dash cam videos.  Many police officers will move the suspect out of the camera's view to do the field sobriety tests.  This is to prevent their defense attorney later on from using it to show that they performed well or as least not badly. Defense attorneys often receive audio-video CD's or DVD's as part of the discovery packet with your police report.

Some of these videos have audio; some don't. The video may show the actual stop and any preceding pursuit of the driver. Whether the suspect is eluding or not. It may show bad driving for several miles to several hundred feet. It may show the officer approaching the vehicle and speaking with the driver or a passenger. It could show the field sobriety tests. It may show the person being arrested, cuffed and any resisting arrest if that occurred. Sometimes we even get an audio-video of the suspect inside the patrol vehicle on their way to the police station for booking and breath testing. The suspect sometimes makes extensive admissions and apologies while sitting in the back seat of the patrol vehicle.

I had a major issue with a King County DUI case last year trying to get the officer's onboard patrol vehicle's dash cam video of a DUI stop. Other times, I have had to file discovery motions or subpoena the videos. The prosecutors sometimes do not provide anything more than the hard copy police report when they have more to provide. That sometimes is prosecutorial misconduct.

 (revised 11/12/2016)

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