DUI VIDEOTAPE LAW
Our DUI laws have changed repeatedly since the 1970's. Our law requires a suspect's conduct to be video recorded at the roadside and in the breath test room. In South Carolina, police crusiers should be equiped with cameras. On most occassions, the camera is activated at the initiation of the officer's blue lights. We have a law that requires field sobriety tests in DUI cases to be video recorded. This is a very important law because it is one of the few laws that addresses the "creation of evidence." It is indisputable that a videotape is an accurate representation of what a camera sees and hears. DUI suspects in this State are given a right that defendants in other cases do not have, i.e. to have a jury determine guilt partially based on the viewing of videotape evidence created by the State.
What are the consequences of not having a tape?
In City of Rock Hill v. Suchenski, 374 S.C. 12, 646 S.E.2d 879 (2007) our Supreme Court held that the “failure to produce videotapes would be a ground for dismissal if no exceptions apply.”
What if a tape exists but it does not show the field sobriety tests?
"As amended in 2009, the current version of section 56-5-2953 expressly requires the recording of field sobriety tests." Murphy v. State, 392 S.C. 626, 709 S.E.2d 685 (Ct. App. 2011).
What if a tape only shows part of the field sobriety tests?
That issue is argued over throughout our State court system.
I have attempted to paint a very, very broad outline of our videotaping law (addressing the roadside portion only). No two cases are ever 100% alike and each will rise and fall based on different facts and circumstances. Our Legislature most likely found that having a video recording of a roadside stop benefits both citizens charged with DUI and officers alike. If you have questions about a DUI case or questions about this article, feel free to contact me at (843) 761-0610. If you would like to read more about South Carolina's DUI and criminal laws, copy/paste this link into your search heading http://www.vannoylawoffice.com/blog/
If you have questions regarding a DUI or criminal case in Berkeley, Charleston, or Dorchester County, please contact my office today at (843) 761-0610 or through the contact page on this website.
Brady Vannoy carries a Martindale-Hubbell(R) AV PreeminentTM Rating. According to the rating system, "AV Preeminent(R) is a significant rating accomplishment-a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." http://www.martindale.com/Products_and_Services/Peer_Review_Ratings.aspx
Brady is a member of the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Brady defends DUI and criminal cases in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties along with other areas of the South Carolina low country. He can be reached at (843) 761-0610 or through the contact page on this website.