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Mobile Videotaping: A Look at Tomorrow's Law Enforcement Tool

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 40 Issue: 7 Dated: (July 1992) Pages: 66-71
J Kuboviak
Date Published
5 pages
In-vehicle videotaping may allow police officers and prosecutors to present more complete and accurate evidence regarding the degree of intoxication of DWI offenders. These on-scene videotapes would eliminate the problems caused by the suspect's refusal to submit a sample for alcohol content analysis or to perform videotaped field sobriety tests and would show the suspect's "loss of normal mental and physical faculties."
This article focuses on Texas State and Federal statutory law as it applies to on-scene videotaping. Texas law, which makes it illegal to mount a television screen in a car where the driver can see it, provides an exception for law enforcement purposes. Various State and Federal court cases have laid the foundation for the use by police officers of sound recording, visual displays, photographs, silent motion pictures, and videotapes. The predicate of sound recordings, which requires that the conversation with the defendant be voluntary, that all voices be identified, and that the manner of preservation of the recording be shown, apply also to videotapes. A key Supreme Court decision held that routine videotaped booking questions may be admitted as evidence, that standardized field sobriety tests do not violate one's right against self-incrimination, and that custodial interrogation questions are not admissible if the defendant refuses to waive his constitutional rights.