Traffic Tickets, Accidents, and Dash Cams
The Dash-Cam as an Answer to Everything
When you receive a ticket that you are positive the police issued to you in error or you are in an accident that you are ticketed for but you think wrongly - you think "Dash Cam." The idea of the dash-cam usually passes through your mind after-the-fact. These little devices can be valuable since they can create evidence that can easily be introduced in court for your defense.
Shortcomings and Longcomings of the Dash-Cam
The problem with the dash-cam is two-fold. First, many people who get a dash-cam place it facing forward on their front windshield. This gives them a great forward but limited view. You may want to buy another dash-cam for the rear window. One thing you do not want to do is pull out a camera and start recording law enforcement after you have been stopped. Most Officers don't care about dash-cam recordings. They respect your ability to protect yourself and to prove them wrong (if they were wrong). However, when you pull out a phone to record anyone you are now falling under an area of the law that requires consent for such recording. Additionally, when it comes to the police, any thought of giving you a break on the reason for the stop is gone when the first thing you do is pull out a camera. Being polite in that situation is a million times more effective.
When I mention these things, many of you out there immediately start to think "what about my rights?" That's a very good question and everyone of you should know what your rights are before you decide to exert them. Today, however, not many of you know what they are but think you do and then get upset when you are told what they aren't. Bottom line - you do not have a right to interfere with a police officer doing his or her job. This is where the dash-cam has the advantage.
Another issue is "where" they attach it to the windshield. Florida law prohibits the placing of anything below the ATI line (except for toll reading devices). You can find this line on the right or left side of your windshield. Many people have their cell phone "holders" attached to their windshield below this line and have not had any problems. However, it can result in a separate ticket if you are ever stopped.
For a dash-cam, make sure to attach it above this line or mount it on the top of the dashboard. The rear window has less restrictions but any dash-cam placed there should not obstruct your view.
Using the Video as Evidence
If you ever need to use a video obtained from your dash-cam to defend yourself in court make sure to do the following.
- Download the video onto a medium you are okay to give to the court. This can be a flash drive or CD/DVR disk. (This also pertains to photos - print them out.)
- Be able to run the video off the medium when you show the court. You can have it uploaded to Youtube or other online site but then you have to be able to verify that the video is the same as that on the medium. It is easier to just use the video on the medium that you will give to the court.
- Make sure the video is evidence that exonerates you and not vice versa.
When your case is called the officer will present his case first. You will present your video evidence during your turn to present evidence. Remember, in order to present it - it has to be entered as evidence which means the court keeps the video. Do not run it off the dash-cam unless you plan on buying another or you can remove the video (flash-drive) from the camera.___________________
For more information please go to my website.
Eric J. Dirga, Attorney, P.O.Box 3591, Orlando, FL 32802-3591 (407) 841-5555