If you're been charged DUI in Washington, DC and you're googling around to find out how to best defend your case, you'll probably want to know about body worn cameras, or BWC.
For some years now, the Metropolitan Police Department have had BWC. An experienced lawyer should always request footage from before, during, and after arrest of a DUI. And why? Because BWC can help poke holes in the government's case. Here's why.
When an MPD officer arrests a driver for DUI, they prepare what's known as a Gerstein Affidavit. Think of the Gerstein as a police report that's sent to the judge for a charging decision. The main difference here is that the Gerstein is a sworn statement made under oath to the judge, and this is one of the first documents law enforcement will present to the Court with a DUI they want charged.
Here's a news flash: the Gerstein isn't there to make you look innocent. The Gerstein will typically say things like:
- The Defendant had a strong odor of alcohol;
- The Defendant was slurring his or her speech;
- The Defendant had glassy eyes; and
- The Defendant did not follow my instructions.
So why would you want the BWC if the cop has already said you were drunk?
Because the cops can and do make mistakes all the time. For starters, law enforcement with BWC don't get to review the footage before they write their Gerstein. And where the police make mistakes under oath, this is where some of the best DUI defense lawyers can start preparing your best defenses.
Time and time again, we see officers using similar language they've used in past Gersteins. They just change the names and dates, and think to themselves: this is good enough. But not for us it isn't. Any discrepancy between what the office swore under oath in the Gerstein and what they want to testify at trial about is fertile ground to show that the officer's word should not be trusted.
And yes, we have experience in cases where the officer's testimony can be attacked as not credible.
A Gerstein affidavit doesn't mean you're guilty, and gives excellent information for the defense to see any potential weaknesses in the prosecution case.
Our DC Office line is: 202-489-0720. Call us and we'll be happy to tell you more about DUI defenses in Washington, DC.
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