Everything we do nowadays seems to be recorded: virtually all Illinois police cars are equipped with dash cams, an increasing number of police departments have their officers wear body cameras, businesses have security cameras, bystanders have smartphones, and so on.
If you get pulled over by the police, you may wonder whether the officer is recording the traffic stop. You may even wonder whether it is legal for you to make your own recording of a police interaction. Is it in your best interests to have a police interaction recorded? Here are some answers to those questions.
Police Dash Cams May or May Not Be Recording
While most Illinois police cars are now equipped with dashboard-mounted cameras, these cameras are limited by the fixed point of view they can capture. In addition, they may not always be turned on or fully functional. Some are constantly recording, but the recording is only saved when it is activated in some way.
If you are ever stopped by the police and accused of drunk driving or another crime, it may be advantageous for you to have the traffic stop recorded.
For example, say that the officer asks you to perform field sobriety tests. You can refuse without penalty, but suppose you have not been drinking or are otherwise confident you can pass these tests. In this situation, you may want to ask the officer if he has a dash camera or body camera, and if it is recording. If the officer says the camera is not turned on, you may ask him to do so. Then, ask that your interactions be conducted in view of any police cameras. This sends a message that you are not afraid to have your behavior recorded.
If you are subsequently charged with a crime, you may be able to use the recording in your defense. For example, an officer might claim that you failed a particular field sobriety test or exhibited other signs of intoxication, while the video evidence may not support that at all.
Choose an Experienced Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are charged with any crime, recorded audio or video evidence may help your case. An experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer will know how to obtain any recordings made by the police and will also investigate other possible sources such as business and home security cameras. Contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free initial consultation on your case.