The popular saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is even more true when it comes to having a video. When a jury recently convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of killing George Floyd in a 2020 arrest, most legal experts and media members agreed: The video of Floyd’s death made a critical difference in the case. It was hard for jurors to dispute what they saw with their own eyes. Chauvin put his knee on George Floyd’s knee for over 9 minutes and Floyd became unresponsive and died during that time.
360 dash cams grow in popularity
Now, many Americans, especially those of color, are adding 360 dash cams to their vehicles. They want their own video record of what happens during a police stop. A 360 dash cam provides high-quality, full-view video of what’s happening around a vehicle. You can capture video of not only what is going on in front of your car, but also on the vehicle’s sides. These dash cams first became popular among law enforcement, as a way to record police chases and traffic stop interactions. Now, motorists add them to ensure they have evidence that they aren’t guilty of crimes police accuse them of or have a recording of police misconduct.
New Jersey allows consumers to install dash cams and use dash cam evidence in court. Yet, dash cam owners must let passengers know a dash cam is recording them.
Using dash cam video evidence
Here are some examples when having a dash cam could help you in a criminal defense case:
- Police charge you with a DUI, but dash cam evidence shows you didn’t fail a sobriety test or police didn’t have probable cause to stop your vehicle.
- You have a verbal argument with your girlfriend in your car and she accuses you of hitting her during your fight. Then, you end up facing domestic violence charges. Yet, your dash cam video shows you didn’t physically assault your girlfriend. You could get the domestic violence charges dropped as a result.
- Police stop your vehicle because you have a headlight out. Yet, police are very aggressive with you and end up pulling you out of your car. You then are arrested for not only resisting arrest, but for assaulting an officer. Yet your dash cam video (or the police officer’s) shows that you didn’t resist arrest or harm an officer in any way.
- An attorney could review the dash cam footage and find evidence to support a specific defense against the charges you face.
You have rights, even if police arrest you after a traffic stop. By having your own 360 dash cam footage, or that from law enforcement, you may find the evidence you need to avoid a conviction and clear your name.