Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used In A Court Of Law? Find Out Here!
Written by Nick
Updated On 
Dec 2, 2021 @ 5:04 am

All you need to know about dash cams and the legislation in the United Kingdom. Dash cams are unlike any other piece of technology in that they can have real-world legal and financial ramifications. To stay safe, make sure you're using your dash cam appropriately and adhering to National Dash Cam safety.

We don't want overburdened police departments to be burdened with thousands of entries for "dangerous driving" or "speeding" when a biker has done nothing wrong.  

Dash cam manufacturers are therefore already keeping a close eye on technical improvements and privacy laws due to their rising popularity on UK roads and being used as evidence. Dual dual dash cams are currently available with the ability to record both the front and rear of your vehicle 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

In Court, How Effective is Dash Cam Evidence? 

If a case is contested and the police want to use incriminating dash cam footage as part of their prosecution case (to prove road users reckless driving or a road rage attack type road traffic offences), there are still certain practical hurdles to cross before it can be used in a courtroom. 

What You Should Know About Dash Cams and the Law?

It doesn't have to be a multi-vehicle collision or a hit-and-run to be reported; even risky driving or excessive speeding can be reported. What you can do with your incriminating dash cam footage, when you can use it, and how to make sure your dash cam is lawful. Dash cams are in the press, insurers mention them in their terms and conditions, and they're even being used in UK court cases. But, in the perspective of the law, where do dash cams stand? 

So, How Useful is Dash Cam Proof? 

With more police departments supporting the use of dash cams, there appears to be no debate about their ability to provide strong evidence.

Two Constabularies in the UK are promoting the submission of dash cam evidence and their most recent efforts appear to be well received by motorists seeking to defend their legal rights while driving.

One of its spokespeople recently stated on behalf of the West Midlands Police road traffic section, "West Midlands Police is intending to establish a new form of 'self-reporting' due care and attention-type road traffic offenses."

The obvious benefit is that it can prove the cause of an accident and liability in the event of a collision. However, this could benefit both camera users and non-camera users."

As a result, the driver isn't the only one who profits. 

Are There Any Disadvantages to Using Dash Cam Footage in Court? 

Unfortunately, it appears that the current answer is 'yes.'

If a case is contested and the police want to use effective dash cam evidence as part of their prosecution case (for example, to prove reckless driving), there are still certain practical hurdles to cross before it can be used in a courtroom.

The reason for this is that the individual who recorded and uploaded the video may be required to make a statement and eventually testify as a prosecution witness in court. This is where issues occur quickly.

While many motorists are glad to submit their dash cam footage, they do not want to appear in front of the Defendant in Court - especially when the Defendant could lose his or her driver's license or perhaps they could face jail sentences if they testify.

Add in the overall experience of attending Court (which many witnesses find daunting in and of itself), taking time off work, and potentially aggravating a Defendant...

It's easy to see why some witnesses refuse to participate in the entire prosecution process. 

Can You Challenge Dash Cam Footage?

There are a few reasons why you would want to question dash cam evidence.

Timing would be the most difficult obstacle to overcome.

A Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) must be issued by the police within 14 days of the offense being committed. As a result, they ask that submissions be filed within 10 days of the offense, and they then rely on their processes to assess the film and issue an NIP within the remaining four days. If you do receive an NIP, double-check the dates. 

The location of the dash cam in the car that was used to film the evidence is another area where you might contest the legitimacy of the evidence presented against you.

If the position of the dash cam in relation to the driver's perspective can be determined, and it was installed in a dangerous manner, the driver can be fined, rendering the footage recorded on the camera inadmissible in court. 

To decrease the likelihood of a legal challenge, several forces impose rigorous guidelines on the film.

Surrey Police, for example, requires that:

'High-quality footage should contain at least 2 minutes before and after any incident.'
In no manner should a video be modified.'

They also don't want the dash cam footage to be shared in any kind of media, including social media, for fear of jeopardizing the case.

You may be able to question the evidence if you believe any of these conditions have not been completed. 

With so many advantages to having a dash cam installed in your vehicle, it's no surprise that dash cam ownership has risen from 1% to 15% in less than four years. 

*In several nations, dash cams and/or the video footage recorded with one are prohibited. 

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About the author
Nick
My name is Nick and I am a self-diagnosed tech-geek! I am the owner of DashCamExperts.UK where we review various dash cams. Having owned a dash cam store where we sold and installed them, starting a website around the subject seemed to be a no-brainer, so here we are! Hope you guys enjoy my reviews!
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