In many states, police officers are required to wear body cameras. Bodycams are generally employed to uphold the integrity of criminal investigations and provide objective evidence. Footage from bodycams can also be used to address allegations of officer misconduct. Generally, such misconduct occurs when the officer is conducting the investigation. As illustrated recently in an Oklahoma case in which an officer was arrested for DUI, bodycams can also capture evidence of misconduct when officers are behind the wheel. If you are charged with a DUI crime in Illinois, it is smart to meet with an experienced Illinois DUI defense lawyer to determine whether bodycam footage or other evidence may be used against you at trial.
The Oklahoma Officer’s Arrest
It is reported that recently-released footage shows a police captain from Oklahoma City being pulled over for suspected drunk driving. In the video, the arresting officer can be seen confronting the captain in his driveway after witnessing him swerve and fail to use turn signals while driving his personal SUV.
Allegedly, the captain pleads with the officer to turn off his body camera, but the officer refuses, citing department policy and his oath to uphold the law. The captain admits to having three or four beers at a poker game before driving and tells the officer he only traveled four blocks. Despite his protests, the captain is instructed to perform a field sobriety test and is ultimately arrested.
Illinois DUI Investigations
In Illinois, a person can face a DUI charge for driving while intoxicated or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more. In other words, circumstantial evidence of intoxication, like observations of the defendant’s behavior, such as slurred speech or bloodshot eyes, the odor of alcohol on their breath or in the car, the results of a field sobriety test or breathalyzer, and the defendant’s own statements about their drinking or drug use.
Body cam footage can be used against DUI defendants to show whether the defendant was swerving or failing to use turn signals, whether they were able to walk or stand without difficulty, and whether they were cooperative or confrontational with the arresting officer. The footage can also capture the defendant’s statements, such as admissions to drinking or drug use, which can be used against them in court.
However, body cam footage can also be used to challenge the prosecution’s case if it shows that the defendant’s behavior was not consistent with being under the influence or if the officer did not follow proper procedures during the stop or arrest.
Meet with an Illinois DUI Attorney
The prosecution can use direct or circumstantial evidence to establish that a person committed a DUI under Illinois law, but regardless of what evidence they offer, they must demonstrate guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is prudent to meet with an Illinois DUI defense attorney to determine what steps you can take to protect your rights. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a capable attorney with ample experience defending people charged with DUI, and if you hire him, he will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can reach Mr. Harvatin at 217.525.0520 or through the form online to set up a conference.