South Carolina courts want to make certain that the residents officers are pulling off the streets are completely guilty of driving under the influence. If you ever become the defendant of a DUI case, the prosecution will not hesitate to take any form of evidence that can prove you were operating a vehicle while drunk.
What makes South Carolina unique from other states is the role video recordings play in the proceedings. The Palmetto State requires officers to record video footage of the defendant’s arrest after testing them and reading them their Miranda rights. While this does help the prosecution prove their case faster, it can turn against them and can help your defense if they do not record properly.
An officer’s costly mistake
In June 2015, an officer arrested a man in Spartanburg County with first offense DUI charges. When the officer asked the man to recite the alphabet, the man apparently skipped several letters and was heavily slurring his statements.
Despite receiving quality audio footage and recording the investigation from beginning to end, the court dismissed the evidence because the two were not in the camera’s view when he was reading the man his Miranda rights.
Their loss is your gain
There are other instances where a mistake in the recording process can minimize or erase any potential DUI charges you have. Maybe the officer did not hit the record button to begin with, perhaps the audio is static or the camera could run out of batteries just as the officer reads the Miranda rights.
This has been a controversial law as some see it as an easy loophole for criminals to avoid punishment and contributes to the state’s high DUI death count. However, it does encourage officers to take a careful approach when arresting potential DUI suspects in order to have a fair trial. Many are falsely accused of DUI and the required recording or lack thereof can benefit your case by showing that you were not as drunk as the officer made you out to be or the officer failed to abide by the state’s laws.