Your Thoughts about Showing Dash Cam Footage at Accident Scene

Discussion in 'Legal Questions' started by MaxandSabine, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. MaxandSabine

    MaxandSabine New Member

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    I'm an experienced, responsible driver who just ordered my first dash camera.

    My intent is to document a car accident that I might be involved in.

    What are your experiences with showing law enforcement dash camera footage of accidents, as opposed to withholding it?

    I'm in California and I have NOT been able to determine who assigns points/blame for accidents. If the police blame one driver, but the insurance the other, on whose DMV record does responsibility and points show up?

    Thanks
     
  2. dash riposki

    dash riposki Well-Known Member

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    The insurance company can't issue DMV points.
    They can raise your rates, or the other insurance company can try to claim you were at fault, or partially at fault for the purposes of liability or payouts. This is totally separate from DMV stuff.
    The cops may not issue a ticket at all, but the insurance companies may butt heads with each other over fault.

    I'd be nervous about handing the data card to the cop, or showing the video to the other driver or cop at the scene. Worse comes to worse, you save it, make sure what you think happened, happened, (and is on the card) and show up at traffic court with it.

    I'm not sure there is any legal requirement to hand over the dash cam or card to the cops at the scene, although you hear people showed the video to the cop at the scene and 'my dashcam saved my license!"
    :)

    FWIW, I was in a major accident in CA years ago, the two other drivers were at fault, but no tickets were ever issued. (OK, one driver died...but I thought the idiot he was racing should have been ticketed.)
     
  3. MaxandSabine

    MaxandSabine New Member

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    Thanks for your reply.

    I should re-frame my question about points. On what basis does DMV determine liability and points: police report; insurance adjusters' determination; a combination of the two?
     
  4. jokiin

    jokiin Well-Known Member Manufacturer

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    insurance doesn't come into it
     
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  5. dash riposki

    dash riposki Well-Known Member

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    I don't think the insurance companies have any input into the DMV or cop stuff.
     
  6. tabetha

    tabetha Active Member

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    VERY different from the UK then, here it is sensible to only give them a copy as they"lose" lots of things, also when spoken to here by cops you are normally "cautioned" part of that states "it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in court, anything you do say may be given(recorded)in evidence" essentially and this has happened to lots of people because they didn't mention at time of questioning some evidence the court doesn't allow that evidence.
    I very nearly knocked a cyclist off their bike nearly two years ago he was nearly hit by lots of cars as he was violently swerving into the road as you passed him, I gave footage copy on usb to cops who took 1 1/2 YEARS to give me it back!!
    Personally I wouldn't mention cam footage to other party and only mention it if specifically asked about it by police, every one can "forget" at the time.
     
  7. c4rc4m

    c4rc4m Active Member

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    I would never show footage to the other party, as they could snatch he cam and destroy it. Equally, I'd want to review anything before giving it to the police. Best to make sure you know what it shows before handing it over. Sometime you may find you also did something wrong, or even if you didn't, the footage from the angle of the cam gives a different perspective that can make it look like you did. So I'd view it and consider it first. If anyone says anything, in the confusion you forgot you had a dashcam until afterwards. I'm assuming there's no law in own your jurisdiction that require the immediate surrender of a dashcam, in which case your actions may have to be different.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
  8. DashcamDPR

    DashcamDPR Active Member

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    Quite sure that doesn't apply in a traffic incident, especially where no one is arrested. If you have to go to court to defend yourself because the other party in the incident decides not to take the blame, the dashcam footage isn't "previously withheld evidence", it merely backs up your version of events that you would naturally have disclosed at the roadside.

    if they said "well you didn't tell us you had dashcam footage" you would argue "I told you at the scene that he drove through a red light"
     
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  9. tabetha

    tabetha Active Member

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    It can apply, you do not have to be arrested to be cautioned, you can agree to be under caution, things are not always done the correct way, I have had cases thrown out as the Police questioned myself without an appropriate adult, which seems funny when you're 51 years old but due to mental health issues they must use an appropriate adult from the appropriate adult service.
     
  10. DashcamDPR

    DashcamDPR Active Member

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    I sit corrected.... but either way dashcam footage isn't "withheld" evidence
     
  11. throrope

    throrope Active Member

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    These questions are best answered by your jurisdiction and likely easily found through your state's Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent website.

    In my experience within our jurisdiction, the responding police officer submits reports describing incidents and and issues citations based on observed violations. The determination listed on citations can be accepted via a guilty plea by the cited driver or disputed in court. Citations are often issued to clearly delineate liability. Liability is determined by admission, plea or court verdict. Points and penalties are assigned by the jurisdiction in accordance with a preconfigured schedule based on the type and severity of the violation.

    Insurance claims are often established through citations, police reports or verdicts, but can be made without them. Insurance carriers keep record of claims and use them to determine their risk of providing coverage and your premiums in accordance with the jurisdiction's insurance laws.

    The back of my Geico insurance card lists instructions to follow in the event of an accident and IMHO is good guidance.

    Since in our jurisdiction all can be sorted after an accident though due process, prudence should be exercised with any visual evidence. If liability is admitted or accurately assigned, additional information may not be relevant.

    We resolved a fender bender without involving the authorities. Only afterwards did I understand the value of leaving the dashcam recording while we assessed damage. The video clearly captured unhindered and uncompromised physical movement of all involved. Since the claim was settled, it was not needed. Often participants afterwards claim injury not identified during an incident.

    Sharing of visual evidence when not involved may become a good deed gone punished due to required participation in resultant legal processes, especially if consequences are limited to property damage.
     
  12. sludgeguts

    sludgeguts Well-Known Member

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    I was in a prang where the police were called - I called them because the other guy was refusing to give me his details. When they arrived, nobody was cautioned, the police simply parted us to get our individual details & check them against their database. they weren't interested in hearing my accusation that the other guy came down the wrong lane & tried to force me off the roundabout - nor were they interested in hearing his accusation of my dangerous driving. Once they had all our details on their forms, they gave each of us a copy & went on their way.
    I'm guessing there'd have to be some serious damage going on (or suspect drugs/alcohol) for the police to take any real interest.
     
  13. c4rc4m

    c4rc4m Active Member

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    Generally, in the UK, you have to disclose evidence ahead of a Civil matter in a process called "discovery" and you can be penalised for not doing so. However, Civil cases take, months / years to come to Court and whether you use evidence is up to you. There's no requirement in a Civil case to disclose evidence that's not in your favour. The only thing you can't do at any point, is lie to the Court as that = perjury. However, generally a Court won't ask questions beyond the evidence presented.

    If however, the other Civil party knows about the footage, they can subpoena it and use it to prove their case if it shows error on your behalf. That's a good reason for keeping quiet about it until after you've reviewed it. Although rare, cameras do lie, usually due to angle and foreshortening.

    In a Criminal matter, I'm unsure if the police can seize dashcam evidence at a scene, S.19. 3 of PACE appears to give them the power to do so, although whether a vehicle constitutes "premises" is another matter. I doubt the inside is a public place. If neither apply, they'd probably need to revisit you with a warrant.


    The police will caution you if questioning you about anything where they suspect a criminal offence has been committed as all interviews must be conducted under caution. They can question you at the roadside. If you are cautioned then my advice would be to simply state that if you are under caution, you wish to be interviewed with a lawyer present. At that point they'll either ask you to attend the police station voluntarily with a lawyer, or if they already have strong evidence of an Offence, arrest you, in which case, you simply request the attendance of a lawyer.

    It's best to say as little as possible even when not under caution, because say anything that gives rise to a suspicion of an Offence, and they will simply caution you at that point, but by then you've already said something that's potentially incriminated yourself, although they will question you about it again under caution. Depending on what you said, it could be difficult to explain away.

    It's an Offence to withhold details in the UK after an accident. Your name, address and insurance details must be supplied to the other party within 24 hours. The police made no arrests as the other driver clearly gave his details to the police.

    Your last line probably clinches it, if there had been injury, they would have been interested in accusations of offences. However, when the damage is merely proprietary, the police often won't get involved as it's not worth the paperwork / their time for a minor infraction especially when they haven't witnessed it, as there's a lack of hard evidence of offences when it becomes he said / she said and UK Criminal Law requires proof beyond reasonable doubt.
     

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