Maricopa police testing new technology to record DUI stops

Law enforcement increasingly uses developing technology in its efforts to detect traffic violations. While subjective field sobriety tests such as walk and turn tests and eye movement are still used, more objective data is being gathered using more sophisticated video technology. In addition to cameras located inside vehicles, police in Maricopa, Arizona, are now testing body cam technology.

Through grants received from the Arizona Office of Highway Safety, the police will have access to technology to be used only in DUI cases. If the cameras are useful in enforcement of DUI laws, the department will be looking for additional grants to equip officers for other purposes as well.

While officers try to record accurate data from the scene of a suspected DUI stop, they say that it puts them in danger to take their attention from a suspect to record notes during the stop. The cameras will provide footage from traffic stops that officers can review later to assist them in preparing a case against the defendant.

Whether using seemingly more objective data from technology or blood alcohol tests or relying on subjective data such as an officer’s observations from roadside tests, someone who is arrested on DUI charges may be able to contest the charges depending on the reliability of the methods used. Especially when new technology is being tested, the technology itself may malfunction or operator error could occur when someone unfamiliar with the device uses it. Even breath and blood alcohol testing is not a perfect science—these tests can be flawed.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Arizona, it may be a good idea to have an attorney who is experienced in defending drunk driving cases review the evidence against you to help you determine how to handle the case.

Source: InMaricopa, “New body cams enable MPD to test technology,” Kyle Daly, April 11, 2014