Can Police Body-Cam Footage Be Used as Evidence After a DUI Accident?

Key Points:

  • Most Georgia law enforcement officers wear body cameras that can provide accounts of what occurred during police encounters at accident scenes.
  • Body-cam footage records an instant and accurate snapshot of the at-fault driver’s attitude and demeanor – a particularly helpful tool when road rage or other circumstances are factors in the event.
  • If the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the body-cam recordings could be especially valuable in negotiating an insurance settlement.
  • Obtaining pertinent evidence, including body-cam and dash-cam videos, eyewitness reports, toxicology reports, and other documentation regarding your accident, may be better accomplished with the help of an experienced lawyer.

Police vehicles have long been equipped with dashboard cameras to capture erratic driving behavior, traffic stops, accident scenes, and other police encounters. While this surveillance can provide some details and visuals of what occurred when police were present, the footage is typically limited due to the camera’s fixed position inside the police car.

To provide more transparency around police encounters, some departments have recently begun implementing the use of body-worn cameras. Body cams are small video and sound monitoring devices that law enforcement officers can wear right on their uniforms. The cameras provide up-close-and-personal accounts of any situations requiring police presence, which can benefit both the officers and the public they’re assisting.

Luckily, the state of Georgia is one of six states that allow the use of body cams by police officers.

Why Body-Cam Footage May Be the Best Video Evidence for DUI Accidents

Police officer giving a sobriety test to a young man who he suspects is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Police officer giving a sobriety test to a young man who he suspects is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police cruiser is out of focus in the foreground.

In the case of an accident, police body-worn cameras can help paint a picture of what occurred, the situation surrounding the crash, and who might be at fault. In addition, these recordings can display the state of mind and mannerisms of all involved parties.

For instance, if a police officer speaks to a driver at the scene, the video will capture their slurred speech, glassy eyes, unsteady movements, or other evidence of potential substance use. It can also verify the police officer’s correct application of any field sobriety testing. This evidence is especially important in accidents where a DUI is suspected as the cause of the crash.

Video recordings provide an instant, unimpeachable record of the circumstances. Therefore, they are even better than eyewitness accounts, as people’s memory of the facts can fade quickly.

How Video Evidence May Change a Car Accident Claim

If body-cam footage clearly shows that the other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, it can turn into a criminal act. Having video proof of their condition will not only make it easier to pursue your accident claim, but it can also allow you to seek additional punitive damages, which can significantly increase your compensation.

While punitive damages awarded in Georgia are typically limited to a maximum of $250,000, this cap may be lifted in cases where the at-fault driver’s judgment was significantly and demonstrably impaired. Video footage that demonstrates this impairment may make this easier to prove.

A Competent DUI Accident Lawyer Knows How to Get Body-Cam Footage

At The Millar Law Firm, we urge you to take the time to consult with a qualified attorney if you’ve been in an accident.

Our experienced attorneys can determine whether body camera footage or other crucial video evidence is available to help prove your case. In addition, our lawyers know how to obtain this evidence along with eyewitness and toxicology reports, and can negotiate to ensure you maximize your compensation opportunities.

Initial consultations are always free and can help you understand how to better the chances of winning a full and fair compensation package.

- D. Lo
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