AV Preeminent
The Florida Bar

Miami-Dade Does Not Videotape DUI Investigations

Videotaping road sobriety exercises is standard procedure in even some of Florida’s smallest counties. Fort Lauderdale-Dade however, still rejects the use of in-car video camera systems for its DUI task force. The cost of the dash mounted patrol car camera is approximately $5000. Equipping the cars of every DUI task force officer wouldn’t make a dent in the overall budget of the Fort Lauderdale-Dade police force. Nonetheless, task force officers don’t have cameras and videotaping is not standard procedure.

In direct contrast, in Broward and Broward County where videotaping is standard procedure, an officer’s failure to do so during a DUI investigation may allow for challenges based on “failure to videotape” motions (A/K/A failure to preserve evidence motions). In Fort Lauderdale-Dade however, the issue is not the failure to preserve evidence but the failure to gather and preserve evidence in a particular manner. As videotaping is not standard procedure in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, the courts have held that law enforcement is not required to collect evidence in a manner dictated by the accused. Consequently, at this time, failure to preserve evidence motions based on a lack of videotape are not successful. Videotaped evidence can be a double-edged sword. I have forgotten more cases than I remember where videotape evidence exonerated a defendant of their DUI. By the same token, a poor videotape that is admissible into evidence can be extremely damaging to a defendant’s case.

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