**WE ARE NOT ATTORNEYS - PLEASE CONSULT AN ATTORNEY FOR ANY LEGAL ADVICE RELATING TO DASH CAM USAGE - THE ARTICLE BELOW IS NOT INTENDED TO BE TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE**
Dash cams can be a great way to upgrade your ride and brings some cool benefits. But with the way that dashcams have the ability to record car crashes, and with all the controversy and public debate over the rights of photographers that has made its way into the news over the last few years, it should be no surprise that automatic dash cams are becoming a point of intense debate in courtrooms across the country.
Can dash cam footage be used in court? If so, in what kinds of cases would it be useful? What circumstances might lead to dash cam footage being thrown out? Essential questions, especially if you plan to use your dash cam in your defense in the event of an accident or a dispute of some kind with police or other drivers.
If you are in an accident, since you are already going to be speaking with an attorney, make sure you hand your dashcam footage over to them at once and sign whatever documents are necessary to make certain your footage is privileged. This way, no dispute or bureaucratic roadblocks will be able to prevent your access to what might be crucial evidence in your own defense.
There are only a few instances where a dash cam could be thrown out if submitted as evidence. If your camera recorded audio at the scene, it might run afoul of wiretapping laws in some states where recording someone's voice without their consent is illegal. If you are driving a rental car and you don't have first-person access to the footage, you may have to jump through a few hoops to obtain the footage from a third party through a subpoena.
Since dash camera footage is presumed to be a true and accurate account of the incident in question, there are very few other circumstances that would lead to its exclusion from the trial.
Fraud and Fault
One thing a dash camera will almost always do is establish fault, any apparent violations of traffic laws and any attempts at fraud or other legal shenanigans. Insurance fraud is a constant menace for drivers, especially those with relatively expensive-looking cars in affluent areas. Having a continuous record of any activity around your vehicle is a great way to not only protect yourself but to deter any would-be fraud perpetrators. One important thing to consider though is what kind of laws your state has to fault as there are no-fault and at-fault states. An at-fault state would mean that the person found to have caused the car crash is going to be the one responsible. This is different from a no-fault state, which is that the state will allow policyholders to recover financial losses from their insurance company, regardless of fault.
If you have the opportunity, it is often a good idea to consult with your personal attorney before you install your camera and inquire about the best way to preserve evidence in the event of an incident. It is best if your attorney can make immediate use of the footage to protect your auto policy, your assets, and your vehicle.