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Arrested for DUI: Was I videotaped? - February 12, 2012

The use of videotaping for DUI's started out many years ago with a VHS system. In time, police departments switched over to a system that used DVD's. Videotaping a DUI investigation keeps everyone honest, or at least it is supposed to. Many times a DVD is not consistent with a police officer's narrative report or alcohol influence report. This type of situation is easily remedied through cross examination of the police officer. A bigger area of concern from a Defendant's perspective is whether the police department in question will produce a video/DVD that should have captured the stop of your vehicle, performance of field sobriety testing or processing at the police station including you submitting or refusing a breath test.

For years, I as a former prosecutor and as a defense attorney have litigated issues to videotaping the Defendant during a DUI investigation. While some municipalities do not have mobile video recording systems in their vehicles,most do. These mobile video recording systems can usually be activated in one of two ways. First, the system will start videotaping when the oscillating lights of the squad car are turned on. Alternatively, a police officer can manually turn on the mobile video recording system on. Interestingly, many systems have the technology to record approximately 30 seconds of footage prior to the mobile video recording system being activated.

Once a mobile video recording system is activated, an obvious issue becomes the production of the recording. This recording usually will include visual and audio recording as the police officer usually wears a wireless microphone. Quite frequently, the video is not produced in court even though it is requested pursuant to a subpoena. This happens usually when the video is destroyed, lost, or deemed to "not be a video recording". There is big distinction between no recording at all compared to a recording that has no evidence on it to help the prosecution.

Many times after receiving a response that there is no video recording, I later find that a video exists that took my client away from the scope of the camera's perspective during field sobriety testing. Moreover, I have received video recordings that purport a recording but in reality has no value to the prosecutor due to a technological error.
In short, video recordings usually can help a Defendant. With the Illinois Supreme Court's recent decisions in People v. Kladis (December 31, 2011) and the Appellate Court's decision in People v. Aronson (March 16, 2011) along with 720 ILCS 5/14-3(h-15) which requires that a video recording that resulted in an arrest be preserved until final disposition of the case and an order of the court.

If you have questions about the use of video recordings or another related DUI, criminal or traffic matter, please contact Steven J.Block at (847) 867-7900 or email at sjb at chicagoduilawyer.biz.

Blogging author: Steven J. Block



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