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Can a Police Body Camera or Dash Cam Help My Defense?

By stladmin on June 16, 2021

A young man in his car with a police vehicle and siren lights pulled up behind him.

Uniformed police officers in Wyoming may be wearing body cameras. Police departments began implementing integrated video camera systems years ago. Casper Police Department is an example, as reported in the Star Tribune.

These cameras may be small enough that you may not notice the officer is wearing the device. Police are trained in how to operate and use the cameras, which are expected to improve both transparency and safety. Cameras that function on a synchronized system may help minimize department paperwork, particularly for police response to noncriminal matters. Body camera recordings may also help your defense if you are facing criminal charges.

Wyoming police are also using dash cameras, as reported by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). This technology is used to enhance officer safety, reduce police department liability, and lead to improved police accountability. Dash camera footage may also provide evidence to support your defense.

How Do Police Body Cameras Work?

These body cameras, which use Bluetooth technology, are always on. They start recording when they are tripped by an event, such as a taser being activated, or by the lights on top of the police car, or by magnets in an officer’s holster. Camera recordings show footage beginning 30 seconds before a trip and include audio and video for the duration. With some systems, once a police body camera begins recording, if another officer is within 30 feet, that officer’s camera will also start to record. The view is approximately 160°, similar to what the human eye records.

Do Police Officers Want to Wear Cameras?

For the police, there are pros and cons to being on camera. On the upside, having a video of what actually occurred can protect them from false complaints and accusations. The camera also shows what the officer must deal with, for example, when handling an intoxicated person who has become violent. On the downside, body cams prevent officers from using discretion. If a teenager is out half an hour after curfew but on his way home, the officer may not have the option to give a verbal warning and send the child home.

How Can Police Videos Affect a Criminal Trial?

It is likely that any recent interactions you have had with law enforcement are on camera. Police video could help your defense in certain situations, including:

  • Proving that an officer’s statement was false: If the arresting officer makes a false statement in his report about what occurred, a camera recording with audio and video that shows exactly what happened can be used to dispute that statement.
  • Showing something the officer failed to do: Police are required to follow certain specific procedures in criminal matters such as making arrests or handling evidence. If the officer failed to follow any of these procedures as required, it could be grounds to have your case dismissed.
  • Establishing your innocence: If you were accused of something you did not do, a recording of what transpired could serve as evidence to help prove your innocence. For example, if resisting arrest was added to your charges when you were actually cooperating, a body cam recording could show what actually occurred, and your attorney could use the evidence to get that charge dismissed.

Why Choose Us for Criminal Defense

If you are facing criminal charges, you need a legal team with experience and a track record of getting results. At Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., we are involved with our clients, available, and down to earth. Our Gillette criminal defense attorney has experience using body camera and dash camera footage in defending our clients.

We offer a free case strategy session. Call us at (307) 257-7800 to schedule. We can explain your options under the law.

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Posted in: Criminal Defense

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