During an arrest for DUI, the officer or the squad car may be filming you. In some cases, this video can help your case by showing you did not appear impaired.
But what happens if that video disappears? Can the charges against you be dismissed? The answer is it depends.
If the evidence was materially exculpatory—in other words, important to proving you were not guilty, the court may sanction the state for failing to produce such evidence. This could include forbidding the officers from testifying as to matters that might have been shown on the video. However, if the evidence was merely potentially useful, you must show the state acted in bad faith in order to prove a violation of your due process rights.
But the inquiry does not end there. The state may also be sanctioned if you can show that it violated a discovery court rule or a court order issued under such a rule. In one Illinois case, the court granted the defendant’s motion to overturn the automatic suspension of her driver’s license when a video was not viewable because of technical difficulties (People v. Aronson).
However, a recent Illinois decision held that the state would not be sanctioned if a video never existed. In People v. Althoff, the squad car video from a DUI stop seemed to be missing. The defendant petitioned the court to dismiss his case or at least prevent testimony about matters that would have been shown on the video. The defendant admitted, however, that the state had not acted in bad faith. The court did not find a violation since there was no evidence that the video ever existed or that it would show much of value to defendant’s case. Therefore, the state had not violated either due process or a discovery rule.
If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Can any evidence against you be excluded? If so, an attorney may be able to petition the judge to keep that evidence out at trial. In limited cases, this could result in your case being dismissed.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)