Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used in Court?

Posted On March 30, 2022 Car Accidents

Thanks to modern technology, dashboard cameras (known simply as dash cams) have become commonplace in many vehicles – as have GoPro cameras attached to helmets for motorcyclists and bicyclists. A dash cam can record footage that is important during a car accident claim in Glendale. Find out if and when dash cam footage can be used in court, as well as if a dashboard camera is worth the investment.

What Is a Dash Cam?

Dashboard cameras can record everything that goes on inside or outside of the cab of a vehicle. They are small and designed to be installed inconspicuously in the front or back of a car to continuously record. Drivers can use dash cams to record what happens outside of the car, such as car accidents and vandalism, or inside the cab (popular for Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers). Most dash cams automatically turn on when the vehicle is started. Dash cams may or may not record audio.

When Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used in Court?

If a dash cam records a motor vehicle accident, the footage can be used in court as evidence if it is relevant to the case. This video footage is almost always admissible in court in Arizona. Recordings from a dashboard camera can be essential to a car accident case, as they may show who or what caused the crash.

Depending on the angle of the dash cam and whether it was attached to the vehicle involved in the collision, it may provide important evidence against one or more drivers. It may show the other driver running a red light, for example, or driving the wrong way in the seconds leading up to the crash.

There are exceptions, however, that can result in dash cam footage being ruled inadmissible as evidence during a car accident case. For example, it is generally illegal to record footage of events that take place on private property. If the dash cam was illegally recording audio of the people inside of the cab (without their consent), this could also rule it out as evidence.

Pros and Cons of Having a Dash Cam

Dash cams may be an increasingly popular accessory for drivers, but they are not right for everyone. Just as this technology can serve as evidence against another driver, it can also serve as evidence against you in a car accident case. If it records you causing an accident, you may be forced to surrender the footage to the police, an insurance company or an attorney. If you delete the footage, this is the crime of destroying evidence. You also cannot be selective in which footage you show; a subpoena can gain access to the full recording.

What Are Arizona’s Dash Cam Laws?

If you do choose to install a dash cam, make sure you follow all of Arizona’s related laws. Arizona is one of 12 states with specific dash cam mounting rules. Under state law, you cannot attach a dash cam to the windshield of your car. You can mount it to the dashboard, instead. The camera cannot impede your view of the road. Screen size is limited to five inches if the dash cam is positioned next to the driver. If you don’t follow Arizona’s dash cam laws and this contributes to an accident, you can be held responsible.

Should You Submit Dash Cam Footage as Evidence in Your Car Accident Case?

If you get into a car accident and you have dash cam footage that might be relevant, you should contact an attorney for advice about whether or not to submit it as part of your case. While it may have evidence that the other driver is at fault, it may also contain evidence that could hurt your case, such as the fact that you were speeding.

If the footage is too low quality or unclear, it may not be strong enough to help your case. An attorney can review the footage and let you know if it is in your best interest to submit it. Note, however, that if the other side of the case knows you have a dash cam recording, you may receive a subpoena that requires you to submit the tape.