Alicy, 1th June 2022
Dash Cam: Safety & Legal Protection
Dash Cams, the second pair of eyes, increase your safety and record reliable evidence. However, people are often baffled about their guidelines and laws. They want to know about their safety and legal protection. Therefore, today, we are going to solve this issue for you and tell you what specific set of guidelines are crucial to follow.
Dash Cam in Your Car is Protected by Law
In the USA, the court accepts the dash cam footage as evidence.
If you are dealing with any legal issue and you have the evidence, talk to your lawyer and give him the recorded footage.
He will secure your case in more ways than you can imagine.
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And there are a few legal points you must remember:
1. Your footage should only feature accidents in public locations. If some incident happens on private property, the recorded footage probably won’t help you as such. For that reason, you need to discuss the whole scenario with your lawyer first. He understands the local laws and perceives very well which type of footage or angle of incident can facilitate winning the case.
2. Audio recordings with the footage aren’t acceptable in most states. If the subject of the incident isn’t informed that you are recording their voices too, they can use the overall incident against you… This situation also depends on the state and local laws, and your lawyer needs to know all the little details to protect you.
Bear in mind that there is a difference between “Federal Law” and “State Law”. If someone says the dashcam footage is completely legal in the United States, they are probably referring to the Federal Law. Since, it’s perfectly legal from a federal law point of view. On the other hand, the state laws are different. And, this is where you deal with the actual problem when you present your case in court.
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For example, even if you have the evidence, the court can deny your dash cam footage evidence if it doesn’t meet the state law, such as if the placement of the camera is incorrect or if it obstructs the driver’s view. Similarly, in some states, windshield-mounted dash cams aren’t allowed at all. If the police officer sees that you have a cam on your windshield, he can issue a penalty notice, and the fine can be as high as $85.
Here Are Some Interesting Dash CamLaws by State.
1. In Alaska, if you are planning to install a dashcam on the driver’s side, it should be smaller than a 5-inch square. However, if you are installing it on the passenger side, it should be smaller than 7-inch square.
2. The law of California defines this device as a “video event recorder”. Their Section 26708 stops you from installing it on the windshield, side window, and rear window.
3. The New York law indeed encourages you to install it as they believe it assists in understanding ambiguous traffic accidents.
4. North Carolina doesn’t have any special rules on the placement of these devices, but you should decide yourself the best and safest place which is free from obstruction.
5. Dashboard cameras are, fortunately, completely legal in Kansas as long as they aren’t blocking the driver’s vision.
6. The laws of Georgia are very clear. According to them, you can use dashboard cameras on the dashboard, but if you use them on the windshield, it will be against the law. Other than that, if you wish to record the inner footage of your vehicle, you need to have permission first from everyone in the vehicle before recording their video and audio.
7. Ohio law is also just like Georgia’s law. The only difference is you don’t need any special permission if you are planning to record the inner footage of your vehicle.
8. Utah is one of those states that don’t stop you from mounting the camera on the windshield. The only restriction is it should not extend down more than 4-inches. In addition, it’s utterly okay to install it on the back window; you won’t face any kind of penalty.
Generally, almost all states allow dash cams. More than 90% of the states just want you to install it on the dashboard; not on the windshield. But if you are still interested in learning more about your state’s law, you can check that online or with the State Patrol.
Misconception: The Invasion of Privacy
There is a misconception and heated debate in public that dash cams are an invasion of privacy… Well, that’s not correct.
Dash Cams aren’t an invasion of privacy.
It’s legal to record in public in almost every state.
Since, according to the law, there is generally no expectation of privacy in the public. Therefore, recording footage while driving your vehicle won’t invite any trouble. Even if you are pulled over by the police, there is no need to stop the recording. This is the reason why we have seen many cases where this little device held police accountable and helped the drivers win their cases in court.
As we have mentioned before, just make sure the placement of the camera isn’t obstructing your view. Since, if it’s obstructing your view and the police decide its position is unsafe and against the state law, you will be fined. And, your word or the footage won’t be rendered admissible in court either.
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I hope this article helped you in understanding the legal obligations of dash cameras.
There is one more factor you must take into account –law enforcement also has some kind of right on your footage.
If they believe the footage you have is some sort of concrete evidence against a crime, they can push you to deliver the footage to them before it can be destroyed, lost, or tempered. If you deny their request and don’t hand it over voluntarily, the law also gives the police officers the right to obtain a subpoena or search warrant to get the footage from you.
So, if some officer believes your footage contains some crucial evidence and asks for it, it’s better to hand it to them. The law allows them to have the footage, but remember, they don’t have the right to force you to delete it.