Dash Cams, Should they be Mandatory for All Law Enforcement?
After reviewing a recent article that questioned South Carolina’s law that requires all DUI investigations to be recorded on dash cam video, whether it was making prosecutions more difficult, I wondered if this type of law should be adopted in other States. After some brief research it appears that South Carolina requires its police officers to record any investigation where an officer believes someone was drinking and driving.
The article mentions that South Carolina has a lower conviction rate for DUI cases in comparison to the country as a whole. MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) believes that the law makes it too strict for prosecutors, which leads to dismissals and reduction of charges. I believe when you watch this video it fully explains why the law is important. Dash cams support the officer’s testimony if the officer’s testimony is truthful. If the officer is not being truthful, a dash cam will shed light on bad policing.
The law helps keep out incomplete evidence. For instance, if the field sobriety exercises are not fully caught on camera, they shouldn’t be introduced. An example of this would be the walk and turn exercise. This exercise (notice I didn’t say test), should be done on a flat surface, and a well lit area, and a demarcation line should be used. If dash cam footage does not show the line for which the person is walking, how do we know they are doing it improperly. It only makes sense that if you are going to have a dash cam to support your evidence, it should be recording all the evidence.
Madd State Direct Steven Burritt told the Fox News reporter “There are things in our state laws, and loop holes, and the way we provide resources to prosecution, that leads to lots of challenges…including the fact that so many cases are getting pled down because of the number of technicalities folks have to deal with as they prosecute the case.” There is no loophole when it comes to using dash cams or body cameras. In fact, this is a safeguard for those individuals who may be wrongly accused of driving under the influence.
I believe South Carolina is being very progressive in mandating dash cams. This technology is becoming so readily available that private individuals actually have their own dash cams. I have personally seen it in two cases for which my clients were involved in an accident that a private citizen recorded it on their own dash cam. Furthermore, there is a rise in body cameras leading to the exoneration of innocent people.
I believe more states should adopt this type of law. If you can personally go to a retailer and buy your own dash cam for 49.95, why can’t our government put it in all vehicles to assure the DUI investigation is done properly. This will assure those who are under the influence will be convicted, and those who are not will not be subject to a wrongful prosecution. After all, isn’t that what Justice is about?