In Baltimore, Ferguson, MO and elsewhere, police shootings of civilians have attorneys and the general public calling for cops to be required to wear body cameras at all times. Body cameras should be implemented in order to record the actual events of confrontations with those they are bound to protect and serve. In Connecticut, there is a bill pending that would establish a body camera pilot program in three police departments of varying sizes.
This program is of particular interest to Connecticut DUI defense attorneys for several reasons. In virtually every DUI arrest, the accused is asked to submit to a series of “field sobriety tests,” that is, to do things the police have been taught are indicators of whether someone is or is not under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. In many cases, the officer testifies in court that the accused either failed the field sobriety tests or performed them in such a manner to give him probable cause to believe that he was intoxicated.
The body camera requirement would certainly shed a light on the truth about field sobriety tests: that passage or failure of these “standardized” field sobriety tests are subject to interpretation, misapplication, and misinterpretation. Body cameras would allow a judge or jury to see for themselves and make the determination on their own. This could help experienced DUI defense lawyers argue against probable cause for an arrest and help in the guilt phase of a jury trial.
While transparency is a positive for Connecticut DUI attorneys, there are also negatives. The police body cameras do cause privacy concerns. For instance, should a prominent citizen be arrested for DUI, the press would certainly seek to discover the recording under the Freedom of Information Act. In addition, history has shown us that despite direction to the contrary, people will share incriminating or funny videos with their friends and their friends’ friends. Before you know it, the video has gone “viral.” In an effort to combat that problem, the ACLU and NAACP released a set of guidelines regarding police behavior with regard to body cameras.
In the long run, police body cameras should exact transparency. If specific guidelines are followed, their use could distinguish the good cops from the bad and help exonerate those who are guilty of nothing other than police overreaction.
Contact Our Criminal Law Attorneys Today
The penalties for drivers in Connecticut charged with DUI are quite serious and can impact your family’s budget as well as your livelihood. If you have been charged with DUI or refusing a breath test, contact a skilled Hartford criminal defense lawyer at the Woolf Law Firm, LLC for help. We have assisted Connecticut drivers charged with DUI-related offenses avoid harsh penalties and consequences. Contact our lawyers to schedule an consultation and learn how we can help you. To find more information about possible DUI penalties in Connecticut, click here.