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Can Dash Cams Be Used in Court as Evidence?

Dash cam recording space in front of vehicle

Nowadays, with new technology, many cars are equipped with dash cams that record 24/7 when the driver is both on the road and has parked their car. Even if your car does not come with a dash cam feature, there are several dash cams that could be purchased individually then installed in the car. These dash cams are very easy to set up. Dash cams record and capture just about everything. Which leads us to the question: are dash cams admissible in court? This is a very common question in personal injury car accident cases. The answer depends on the situation. That is why it is very important to hire an experienced personal injury car accident attorney to pursue your claims and ensure maximum compensation for your injuries.

Dash cams could provide very strong evidence of how an accident occurred. When there are no witnesses involved, most of the time car accidents are more of a he-said-she-said situation where each driver is asserting their own favorable circumstance. As soon as you file a claim against the other party, your personal injury attorney will begin building your claim for you to ensure you successfully file a claim against the defendant.

Are Dash Cams Legal in California?

Dash cams became legal in California in 2011, however if recording the inside of the car makes a passenger feel uncomfortable, they can decline the recording.  Those who are employees of ride share services must notify the passengers in the car that they have a dash cam and the recording is directed towards the inside of the vehicle. Once the passenger communicates that they no longer wish to be recorded, the driver must then turn it off. However, there is no law that violates dash cams recording the public roads. Recording others on the roads is not specifically outlawed by any statute or law.

What Do Dash Cams Record?

Other than audio and video, dash cams also record the speed of the car. This audio includes the inside of the car. Other more developed dash cams could also record when the driver was braking and which direction they were steering. Dash cams could also assist in getting information regarding the road condition and seat belt usage.

Do I Need to Purchase a Specific Dash Cam?

California has some restrictions on how large the dash cam should be. Any larger than the sizes requested is considered illegal and you could get cited for your dash cam that does not meet these restrictions. The dash cam is required to be placed on the dashboard of the vehicle. Any other locations could result in citations. Placing the dash cam at any other location could be deemed not safe. The three areas where a dash cam could be installed are:

  • at the lower right-hand corner of the windshield
  • at the left-hand corner of the windshield
  • at the center portion of the windshield

Are Dash Cams Admissible in California courts?

Dash cams are admissible in California courts. The video recording from the dash cam could help win your case against defendant and demonstrate how the accident was caused. The dash cam will be able to assist both parties in determining liability along with the environment the cars were driving in. The dash cam can also assist in calculating the different types of damages asserted.

Can a Dash Cam Work Against You?

Oftentimes, a dash cam could possibly work against you and make you liable for the accident instead of the other driver. For example, if a dash cam shows you texting prior to the accident, you could be held liable for the accident. It is very important to study the dash cam and look for any consistencies prior to bringing it into court.

Do California Insurance Companies Honor Dash Cams?

Not all insurance companies honor dash cam footage. Some insurance companies do not even mention dash cam footage in their policies. California courts will nonetheless accept dash cam footage as admissible evidence. Oftentimes, dash cam footage is used in circumstances where cars have run a red light or when there are no witnesses to a car accident. It is against the law to tamper with or edit dash cam footage.

California Police Dash Cams

Although dash cams in police cars are not required by law, at this point, almost all police enforcement in California has a dash cam located in their squad cars. The most common department that uses these dash cams are the California Highway Patrol. California Highway Patrol department always ensures that the arrests that have been made on the highway are recorded through the dash cam. The dash cams are considered to be mobile video and audio recording systems, also known as MVARS. These dash cams are always on and always face forward.

These dash cams are meant to constantly record arrests and make sure that the police are following the proper law when making such arrests. This is meant to prevent any type of police aggravation or police misconduct when handling arrests of citizens.

For example, the most common situation where a dash cam is used is when the police is making a DUI arrest. However, things to consider are the lighting. Almost all arrests should be conducted in front of the dash cam in front of the car in order to capture the arrest. You are able to request a copy of the dash cam footage of your arrest. Oftentimes, criminal law attorneys could assist you when defending against dash cam footage by showing that the video was not properly recorded, or the video captures the violation of someone’s rights during the arrest.

Police dash cam footage is also admissible in criminal court. The video footage will most likely be allowed in court to show the circumstances of the arrest. That’s why it is very important to have professional legal assistance to represent you when challenging your arrest.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and you have dash cam footage of the incident, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to pursue your claims end bringing the dash cam evidence into court. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your claim and determine liability to maximize your compensation. We will work to make sure that the minimum amount insurance companies offer is not an amount to accept, but rather, a higher amount that will compensate you. Our attorneys have decades of experience seeking financial compensation for our clients. We have offices located in every major city in California, including Los Angeles in Irvine.  Our attorneys work to gather evidence to strengthen your case, including police reports and dash cam footage.

Contact Heidari Law Group today to discuss your car accident during a free no risk consultation.

***Disclaimer: This page is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this page, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.

Sam Heidari

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Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

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