If you’ve been issued a speeding ticket, you may feel that the ticket was not justified at worst or inaccurate at best. You should know that this is not unusual and, more importantly, it doesn’t mean you have to accept the consequences of the speeding ticket, which could amount to hefty fines and a steep increase in your insurance premium. At Rosenblum Law, we are often called upon to fight tickets in this kind of situation and at times will explore options that can be useful in a speeding ticket case.
In this article, we will focus on one of those options: dash cams. We’ll look at what they are, what models are out there, how they should be used legally in New York, and how owning one may help you fight a speeding ticket in New York’s traffic courts.
What Is Dash Cam Footage?
Dash cams are cameras that are mounted on the dashboards of vehicles. These are meant to record a wide angle of footage toward the front of a vehicle. They may be purchased virtually anywhere that sells electronic goods. You can even use your smartphone as a dash cam through several apps that activate the feature for you. Some of these dash cams begin recording when you start your vehicle while others begin recording with the press of a button.
Your dash cam footage may prove to be extremely helpful to your case in the hands of an experienced traffic attorney.
Using Dash Cam Footage to Fight a Speeding Ticket
There are many factors involved when fighting a speeding ticket in New York. These include what made the officer pull you over, whether or not you were actually speeding, if speed limit signs were blocked by foliage or some other object, or if you needed to accelerate briefly to avoid some sort of hazard. Many of these issues can be proved or disproved by dash cam footage.
1: Capture conversations about the incident
Police often speak about the reason they are pulling you over, or discuss it later, and having an expert attorney review their dash cam footage may reveal crucial information about why they pulled you over. For example, if the officer states the reason they pulled you over, and it was not a just or proper reason to pull you over, it may get everything from your incident dismissed by the court. Let’s take a look at some just reasons police may pull you over, and what they could mean:
These are all legitimate reasons an officer can pull you over for, however, you will want to make sure you were actually in violation of one of these or another legitimate cause.
Say the officer’s claim that he witnessed you breaking the law sounds shaky based on the way he described it to you after he pulled you over. Or, the officer claims that you admitted guilt. Your attorney will be able to review your dash cam footage and use that to dispute his claim.
2: Record your driving speed
Many dash cams that you can purchase or apps you download on your phone display your driving speed. This record can be extremely helpful to challenge a police officer’s claim that you were speeding. Although not calibrated like a police radar, they may still be used to argue your case–especially in situations where an officer alleges that you were going over the speed limit based on their observation or in comparison to other cars. There are also apps you can install on your phone that record the distance of your trips and the top speed of every trip, evidence that may also prove to be useful to your attorney.
3: Show the location where you were pulled over
Where you were driving and pulled over can play a huge role in whether or not you violated a speeding ordinance. For example, you may have been driving in a 55mph zone going into a 45mph zone, and the officer used the radar to record your speed of 55mph while you were still within the 45mph speed limit zone. Having your own dash cam record such a mistake may be the only way you can dispute an officer’s allegation. Having footage to show precisely where the officer was located and where you were pulled over might be valuable evidence in the hands of a skilled traffic attorney. Dash cam footage may also indicate the location of speed limit signs, and whether they were visible or not. Perhaps a speed limit sign was covered by foliage from a tree, blocked by a tractor trailer pulled over on the shoulder, or obscured by some other object. Any of these situations might be useful evidence to fight a speeding ticket.
4: Reveal whether your actions were due to a hazard
Sometimes you may have to speed up to avoid being rear ended, or to avoid another driver who is about to “t-bone” you at an intersection. While you may have been speeding for a time, your attorney will be able to use this evidence to raise a defense of necessity. A necessity defense means you had little to no other options to avoid a far greater danger, so that is why you were speeding.
It is completely legal to use dash cams in New York as long as the purpose and placement of the camera is for the road’s general view and not specific cars or people. You are also allowed to record a conversation that you are a part of, but not conversations between others who did not give their consent.
There is a chance that you could receive a ticket if your dash cam obstructs your view of the road. If you have your camera mounted on your windshield and it blocks a portion of your view of the road, you may be ticketed. For this reason, you should always place your camera somewhere, such as on one of the corners of the dashboard, so that it does not obstruct your view of the road while driving. That goes for your own safety as well, not just to avoid a potential ticket.
Many newer model vehicles, dash cams, and phone apps have features that also record driving summary information. For example, some capture and store your driving history for anywhere from a few days to a week–in some cases, even longer. This data may include the distances you have traveled, when you slammed on your brakes, where and for how long you stopped, and the top speed of each trip.
By no means is this evidence concrete and conclusive, however, if you are pulled over and the officer alleges that you were driving over the speed limit, your attorney should be provided with all such information to help fight the ticket.
Related Facts and Statistics
In 2019, a reported more than 37 million dash cams were sold. Some reports show that by the year 2027, the dash cam market is predicted to be worth more than $7.5 billion. Dash cam sales slowed by 3% during the covid-19 pandemic related shutdowns. The price of a dash cam can range from $50 to over $200, depending on desired specifications and other factors such as brand.