Metropolitan Police Department in DC and Body Worn Camera
So the District of Columbia is deploying more body worn camera than any other jurisdiction in the Country. In fact, in December 2016, the MPD completed deployment of approximately 2,800 body-worn cameras (BWCs) across the District of Columbia. The legislation regarding the BWC can be found here. Some of the other police departments (Park Police, Capital Police etc) usually do not have BWC. Its also been noted by the Washington Post that some officers have failed to wear BWC. Pursuant to the Metropolitan Police Regulations they are required to wear BWC when on duty. So if they are not using – hmm, why?
The Old days
So in the old days, the defense lawyer would get a copy of the police reports and try to see all the things the officer did wrong by reading his police report. We would go through the Standardized Field Sobriety Test police documentation and look for things the police officer missed. His police report would usually be wrong and one-sided. Now the police are still documenting the DUI arrest with their paperwork but now we usually have an additional evidence – the body worn camera. The BWC is crucial to the DUI arrest in DC. The good thing is sometimes you can see where the officer does not give the proper instructions for SFST. The bad thing is if you were drunk, there will be no question. On the rare occasions, there is no BWC footage, there is almost always police station video. The prosecutor is obligated to turn over all the video footage pursuant to DC Case law.
Be Active in Your DUI case
If you have been arrested for DUI in DC, you should be going over the BWC with your attorney. You should be viewing the BWC footage with your lawyer so that you can make an informed decision on how your case should proceed. The prosecutor generally sends a link to the defense attorney to download the BWC. The BWC doesn’t lie so it needs to be reviewed thoroughly. If you have questions regarding your case please give us a call.