Dash Camera Video Available In Traffic Cases?
- January 14, 2015
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In October 2014, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Vincent Grasso issued two rulings regarding police dash cam video records that have stirred quite a bit of interest from attorneys who handle traffic cases in New Jersey. As an attorney, I routinely hear a story from my clients which differs greatly from the contents of the police report I receive in response to my discovery request. Although the officer prepares a routine report at the end or shortly after their shift, they handle many similar matters day in and day out. This results in an awareness of what highlights to give attention to when writing a report as well as a blurring of their memory as to specific incidents as a result of substantial similarity in driving under the influence (DUI) stops, reckless driving stops and other motor vehicle stops. On the other hand, a driver facing DUI, reckless driving, careless driving or other motor vehicle charges is likely to be stopped on an infrequent basis and have absolutely no confusion about the conditions and events surrounding the motor vehicle stop. On the other hand, the driver is most often unfamiliar with the statute under which they are being stopped and the portions of the event they recall specifically may not relate to the statutory factors which will determine their guilt or innocence. For example, drivers often focus on conditions external to the stop which, in their opinion, gave rise to the circumstances resulting in the stop such as the need to move a vehicle after consuming alcohol. In either version of the event, the officers or the defendant’s, there is the possibility for error. If Judge Grasso’s ruling with regard to the cases, including Ganzweig v. Township of Lakewood, result in the routine provision of video footage to the public, the diverging stories will become of less import as there will be an accurate and unbiased video recording of the event for the defendant, the officer, the prosecutor, defense counsel and the judge to view. As it stands, obtaining video of traffic stops, when available at all, can be challenging resulting in substantial delays of the matter and frustration to clients paying attorneys for continued court appearances for no purpose other than discovery motions with regard to the video sought in any particular matter. If you are facing charges for a traffic violation including DUI, driving under the influence of drugs (DUID), reckless driving, driving while suspended, controlled dangerous substances (CDS) in a motor vehicle or other traffic matters you can face incarceration, loss of license, substantial fines and surcharges and increased insurance rates. You should seek an experienced municipal court attorney to protect your rights. For more information about traffic court matters visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.