Video is everywhere these days. Many cars have cameras, and we walk and drive past dozens of traffic cameras daily. Businesses and homes have security cameras outside and inside. And nearly every person we encounter every day has a video camera in the cell phone they carry. So, if you're arrested for a DWI, you're undoubtedly wondering what kind of video evidence might pop up in your case. And is it admissible in your trial?
When is Evidence Admitted in DWI Cases?
For evidence to be admissible in a Texas DWI case under the Texas Rules of Evidence, it must be relevant, material, authentic, and not privileged.
- Relevant: Evidence is relevant if it may make a fact of consequence to the case more or less probable than it would be without the evidence.
- Material: Evidence is material if it relates to the issues the court is deciding in your case.
- Authentic: Evidence is authentic if it is genuine and real rather than fake or forged. Often, an attorney will authenticate video evidence through the testimony of a person with knowledge of the evidence.
- Not privileged: Evidence may be privileged if it includes communications with an attorney, clergy, medical professional, or spouse.
Under Texas law, the state must provide a copy of any police video of your stop, arrest, conduct during your interaction with the police, and any procedures where they collected your breath or blood for testing. As part of your attorney's discovery of evidence, you have the right to view this video before trial, whether from a body cam or dashcam. These videos will often be used in court by either the prosecution or the defense.
You may have other admissible video evidence in your case, such as:
- Dashcam video from your car or those of surrounding drivers,
- Video from nearby witnesses to an accident or the aftermath,
- Video from traffic cameras, or
- Video from nearby businesses or homes.
Challenging Video Evidence in Your DWI Case
Typically, the judge will admit video evidence if it is relevant, material, authentic, and not privileged. However, your attorney may still want to challenge the admissibility of video evidence in some circumstances. Aside from challenging the relevance, materiality, authenticity, or privilege, your attorney may challenge video evidence that is:
- Too dark,
- Too blurry, or
- Cut off, meaning it doesn't show an entire interaction. If, for example, the video doesn't show the beginning or end of a stop.
Hire an Expert in Texas DWI Law
If you're facing DWI charges in the Houston area, you need an expert in DWI defense representing you in the criminal justice system. Attorney Doug Murphy is a Texas DWI Defense and Criminal Defense Law expert. In fact, Doug is one of only two Texas attorneys who have Board Certifications in both DWI defense and criminal law.
Doug is also well-regarded among his Houston peers. Through the nominations and votes of Houston attorneys, U.S. News and World Report recently voted him Lawyer of the Year and to their Best Lawyers in America list for 2023 Houston DWI defense. Doug and the skilled team at the Lento Law Firm, P.C., have been helping people in Houston defend DWI charges for years. Find out how they can help you too. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm online or call them at 713-229-8333 to schedule a consultation.
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