South Carolina Court of Appeals continues strict interpretation of DUI videotaping requirements by requiring that field sobriety tests be videotaped in their entirety.
In State v. Gordon, the South Carolina Court of Appeals reviewed whether a DUI videotape complied with South Carolina law where the suspect’s head was not visible on camera during a field sobriety test where the officer checked the suspect’s eyes. If you have been arrested for DUI, contact an experienced Rock Hill DUI Lawyer at Pisarik Law Firm to discuss your DUI defense. Initial consultations with a Rock Hill DUI Lawyer are free so contact Pisarik Law Firm to talk about your DUI defense today
Whether a DUI field videotape complied with South Carolina DUI videotaping requirements where the suspect’s head was not visible during the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus DUI Field Sobriety Test.
Cody Gordon was stopped at a license and registration checkpoint. Officers administered three DUI field sobriety tests to determine if Gordon was under the influence. Following the tests, Gordon was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Gordon moved to dismiss the charge on the ground that the state failed to record the DUI field sobriety test because his head was not visible during the HGN test. The magistrate denied the motion, and Gordon was found guilty of DUI after a jury trial. Gordon appealed the magistrate’s decision.
The Court of Appeals held that a suspect’s head must be visible during the HGN test in order to comply with the DUI videotaping statute. SC Code Section 56-5-2953 states that the video recording at the incident site must include any field sobriety tests administered. The Court reasoned that the purpose of SC Code Section 56-5-2953 is to create direct evidence of a DUI arrest. The Court further found that because the purpose of the videotaping statute is to create direct evidence of the DUI arrest, if the actual tests can’t be seen on the recording the requirement is pointless. Therefore, because Gordon’s head was not visible on the videotape, the Officer failed to comply with SC Code Section 56-5-2953.
In keeping with previous rulings, the Court dismissed the DUI case for failure to comply with the videotaping statute. The Court stated that by requiring law enforcement to videotape a DUI arrest, the Legislature clearly intended strict compliance with that videotaping statute. Therefore, if there is a violation of the videotaping statute, the case should be dismissed.
Contact Rock Hill DUI lawyer Craig Pisarik at Pisarik Law Firm to discuss your DUI defense.
Just because you have been charged with DUI or DUAC does not mean that you are guilty of DUI or DUAC. A DUI lawyer may be able to help you with your DUI defense or DUAC defense. As was the case in State v. Gordon, there may be defenses to your DUI or DUAC charge. If you have been charged with DUI or DUAC, contact a Rock Hill DUI lawyer at Pisarik Law Firm for a free consultation today. 803-415-2733