Supreme Court Rules: No Camera, No DUI

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Monday that any DUI arrest that is not caught on videotape simply because the car is not equipped with a camera is not legally enforceable.

Police Videotape Footage of Your DUI Arrest

The South Carolina General Assembly passed a law in 1998 requiring police video tape all field sobriety tests and DUI arrests. Admittedly, the South Carolina Legislature did not set a time requirement for equipping patrol cars with cameras. Until recently, the law has only applied to police who had cameras installed in their cars but failed to turn them on. Now, the court has expanded the interpretation of the law to include all police cars, even ones that lack a camera.

A circuit court reversed a DUI conviction against a woman who argued for a dismissal based on the fact that the Town of Mount Pleasant where police arrested her did not produce a videotape of the arrest.

Judge J.C. Nicholson reversed the conviction after the defendant challenged that not having a videotape violated the 1998 law.

While it restricts many police without video cameras from catching and arresting drunk drivers, this new interpretation of the law will protect the civil liberties of potential DUI defendants and allow for more impartial trials.

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