Super Lawyers
Justia Lawyer Rating
The Best Lawyers in America
Avvo Clients' Choice
Avvo Rating 10.0
National College for DUI Defense
National Collage for DUI Defense
American Council Of Second Amendment Lawyers
Avvo Clients Choice Award
Avvo Rating
Trial Lawyers University
Best Lawyers
James Publishing Author
Super Lawyers
Trial Lawyers College

Recording a Traffic Stop With Smartphone in a DUI

Dashboard cameras have long been used in police cruisers to capture roadside traffic stops, and body cameras have become increasingly popular over the last several years. These days, though, almost everyone has the capability to record high-quality video on a smartphone. Others have taken it upon themselves to install a Gopro on their own car dash and use it for purposes such as these. But what are the rules surrounding recording traffic stops or encounters with police in Michigan? And when might the recording be admissible as evidence in a trial?

Your Right to Record

In Michigan and across the United States, you are within your constitutional rights to record interactions with law enforcement, so long as you do not hinder or impede officers' ability to perform their duty. This means that you may legally take video of a traffic stop with your smartphone or other recording devices. This does not mean the police won't try to stop you from making such a recording. The police generally do not take kindly to being photographed or video recorded while on duty.

Additionally, the practicality of taking video during a traffic stop may become a factor. For instance, if you are driving alone and are pulled over, officers may become agitated if you are trying to hold a recording device in one hand while fumbling through your wallet or glove box for a driver's license or proof of insurance with the other hand. You may be able to place the phone or camera in a cup holder or prop it up on the dashboard, though. This is one benefit of using a Gopro device pre-mounted to your dash.

Alternatively, if all you have is a cell phone or similar device, then you could have a passenger record the encounter, leaving you free to comply with the officer's requests.

Video Evidence

Just because you record an interaction with police does not mean that the footage will be admissible as evidence in a trial. The rules of evidence will apply, and the admissibility of video evidence will depend on the specific details of the case and the rules of the particular jurisdiction in which the case is tried. Authentication will definitely be an issue, and then there is the issue of the sponsoring witness. You have a right to remain silent and if your case goes to trial, most of the time you will not testify. Videos are not self-authenticating, so if you took the video you would have to take the stand and explain the circumstances or to use lawyer terms lay a foundation for its admission into evidence. Taking the stand for this purpose is almost certain to open up questions that may not be in your best interest to answer, such as whether or not you were intoxicated while making the recording.

However, even if the recording is not allowed as evidence in court, it may still provide your attorney with a different perspective that could help with preparing your case for trial and depending on what's actually captured on the video, its contents might be helpful in plea negotiations. In a worst-case scenario, the video could contain evidence of police misconduct or even abuse.

Call Today! FREE Consultation Lawyer and Receive Immediate Attention for Your Criminal Law Case Patrick T. Barone is a Michigan Super Lawyer, who has maintained continuous top attorney ratings since 2007. In addition, the Michigan native is the author of multiple books on OWI, DUI and criminal law. The OUIL attorney near me has lectured at over 80 legal seminars all over America. He leads Barone Defense Firm in providing aggressive legal warriors for each client's criminal case.

Contact us 24 hours a day at our law firm’s easy to remember toll-free number, 1-877-ALL-MICH or 877-255-6424, for a free criminal case review. The Michigan attorneys near me at Barone Defense Firm travel the entire Great Lakes State, to help citizens in legal trouble in Michigan for alleged criminal law violations.

For your FREE lawyer consultation, call today to learn how to protect yourself from a possible unwarranted conviction. What do you have to lose, when the free legal advice with our litigation team’s criminal lawyers near me can answer many tough questions?

Client Reviews
Patrick Barone is the ONLY choice for DUI defense. He was realistic from the start and made it a point to look at my case before taking my money. As a business owner, when I think of attorneys, I think of the "shark infested waters. Patrick is a shark alright, but his prey is not the client; it's justice for his client. Ten stars Patrick!! Chris F.
Attorney Patrick Barone was very helpful and helped me understand the charge and sentence absolutely clearly. He also guided me through step by step helping me form a statement. His instructions were clear and detailed. It was obvious he cared about me understanding every important detail within my case. I would absolutely recommend this defense firm to anyone in need. Aaron B.
The Barone Defense Firm is the firm I recommend. They are truly concerned about the person, not just the legal issue, but the person as well. They are the most knowledgeable defense firm that I am aware of, having actually written the book on DWI Defense. If you are faced with a DWI you will not find a more professional and skilled law firm. But, most importantly, they care about how the accused individual recovers his or her life when the case is complete. Very remarkable group of lawyers. William H.