Police dash cam footage has been in the news a lot in recent years, mainly as it relates to showing events that led to an arrest or shooting of a suspect. As the price of dash cams decreases, more private citizens are installing them on their own vehicles. A typical dash cam can cost between $50 to $200, and can be installed easily.
Are Dash Cams Legal in North Carolina?
There is no law in North Carolina prohibiting the use of dash cams. North Carolina does not prohibit windshield mounted devices, but if you do install a dash cam, however, make sure it does not obstruct your view. North Carolina is a “one party consent” jurisdiction, meaning that you may record a conversation without the other party’s consent if you are a party to the conversation. Audio recording from a dash cam would not be permitted if you were not part of the conversation being recorded. There is no similar restriction for video footage. Since a dash cam will not be able to pick up audio outside of your vehicle, this should not be an issue, but if two people are talking inside or close to your vehicle, you must have the audio turned off, or obtain their permission to record audio.
How Can Dash Cam Footage Help in an Accident?
A dash cam will record what you see, so it can be used to corroborate your version of events leading up to an accident. If you believe the traffic light was green when you entered an intersection, and the other party says it was red, your dash cam can back you up. A dash cam may also record whether a vehicle stopped at a stop sign, or whether a driver exhibited erratic or reckless behavior. Remember, though, that your dash cam footage may also be used against you. Depending on where it is mounted, a dash cam may record your rate of speed, whether you were using a turn signal, or whether you were distracted by a phone call, conversation, or other activity. A police officer may seize your dash cam after an accident in order to preserve the evidence it contains. There are circumstances in which seizure of evidence is legal, and some in which it is not, so talk to a North Carolina accident attorney if your dash cam was taken by the police after an accident.
Dash Cam Evidence
Dash cam evidence may be used in settlement negotiations with an insurance company and may be used in court. If you are in an accident, and any dash cams were in use by other drivers, an experienced accident lawyer can help obtain the footage from those cameras. Chances are, if the other driver does not want to produce their dash cam footage, the driver believes the evidence will show that he was at fault. Call one of our accident specialists right away, before vital evidence is lost.