What You Say Can And WILL be Used Against You. And it’s Probably on Camera!

Did you know that all Fredericksburg patrol officers are now outfitted with body-worn video cameras? Yep. If you encounter a Fredericksburg police officer, you may be on candid camera.

The cameras are actually fairly visible, being worn either on a lapel clip or on the officer’s sunglasses. But you won’t necessarily know if the camera is recording or not.

For images of these cameras, check out the manufacturer’s Pinterest board.

According to a Fredericksburg police article on the issue, “Officers will not be activating the cameras for every random conversation or minor citizen encounter….”

Frankly, I’d prefer for the cameras to be rolling the entire time an officer is on duty. If it’s left to the officer’s sole discretion about when to record, there will probably be times when video could be helpful to the defense but there’s no video available.

I’m not saying that officers will purposely keep the video off to hurt the defense, but they may not think something is important enough to be recorded. In most of the work that I do, statements from the defendant make or break the officer’s case. What might start out as a simple traffic stop can quickly escalate into an investigation to a serious misdemeanor (or even worse!), such as possession of marijuana or driving on suspended.

In many cases that I handle, the cruiser video is an incredibly useful tool to confirm or rebut the officer’s memory of the situation. Since most judges implicitly trust what the officer testifies to in court, the video usually provides us with either an assurance that the officer remembers everything correctly OR it can show that he may be mistaken.

I like the idea of having more video to use for the defense, but the officer’s in-the-field discretion makes me nervous.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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