In South Carolina, all police vehicles are required to have video recording in their cars.  Police like video because it offers additional protection for them at the scene.  Criminals may be less likely to assault them if they realize they are being recorded.  Additionally, claims of undue force or excessive force can be reviewed objectively.

As a criminal defense attorney, I like video recording because it protects my clients and shows what really happens at the roadside.  Everyone knows what “drunk” looks like.  The testimony by the officer will be remarkably similar to every other case, and any testimony by a defendant will be viewed as self-serving.  Video “keeps everyone honest.” A jury can see for themselves every aspect of the stop and arrest.  How does the defendant appear? Is his speech slurred? Does she talk coherently?  Are they steady on their feet? Do they stumble or fall? How do they perform the roadside “field sobriety tests”?  In short, do they appear “intoxicated”?

The following is the relevant portion of the actual statuory law:

SECTION 56-5-2953. Incident site and breath test site video recording.

(A) A person who violates Section 56-5-2930, 56-5-2933, or 56-5-2945 must have his conduct at the incident site and the breath test site video recorded.

(1)(a) The video recording at the incident site must:

(i) not begin later than the activation of the officer’s blue lights;

(ii) include any field sobriety tests administered; and

(iii) include the arrest of a person for a violation of Section 56-5-2930 or Section 56-5-2933, or a probable cause determination in that the person violated Section 56-5-2945, and show the person being advised of his Miranda rights.

(b) A refusal to take a field sobriety test does not constitute disobeying a police command.

(2) The video recording at the breath test site must:

(a) include the entire breath test procedure, the person being informed that he is being video recorded, and that he has the right to refuse the test;

(b) include the person taking or refusing the breath test and the actions of the breath test operator while conducting the test; and

(c) also include the person’s conduct during the required twenty-minute pre-test waiting period, unless the officer submits a sworn affidavit certifying that it was physically impossible to video record this waiting period.

(3) The video recordings of the incident site and of the breath test site are admissible pursuant to the South Carolina Rules of Evidence in a criminal, administrative, or civil proceeding by any party to the action.

At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP, our attorneys have over 60 years of combined trial experience in both civil and criminal courts.  We focus our criminal practice on DUI and DWI cases in both South Carolina and North Carolina and are available by mobile phone in the evenings, on weekends, and even holidays. Our lawyers are licensed in both states and are effective criminal trial attorneys.  We are not afraid to go to Court and often do. Don’t settle for a lawyer who only wants to reduce your DUI charge to reckless driving.  Call us today for a free attorney case review of your particular situation. We are here to help. www.rjrlaw.com