Since 2014, police departments across New Jersey have been under a legal mandate to install camera systems into their new vehicles, paid for in part by a $25 fee lodged against people convicted of DWI.
The law came about after Assemblyman Paul Moriarty of Gloucester was charged with DWI in 2012.
The police car that pulled him over was equipped with a camera, and Moriarty was able to use the police’s own footage to have his case thrown out.
Municipalities have bristled at the mandate. They took their complaints to the state’s Council on Local Mandates, which evaluated the law and found that the funding mechanism is insufficient to meet the state constitution’s “state mandate, state pay” requirement.
Paul Medany, the mayor of Deptford Township, made the case before the council that police in his town write 10-15 DWI tickets every month, which would supply only about 6% of the funding it needs to be in compliance.
Because video of encounters with police can be so powerful in a trial, this ruling cuts both ways.
When police are in the wrong, there’s little that makes the case more clearly than showing the recording of the stop.
Footage that shows a driver appearing intoxicated is equally compelling.
It’s unclear how the state will respond to this ruling, but as New Jersey sorts out DWI law and punishments, equipping our police with cameras will certainly be an element in the conversation.
If you’ve been charged with DWI in New Jersey, fight back. Matthew Reisig has helped more than 1,040 drivers avoid conviction on DWI charges.
Call 732-625-9660 today and talk to an experienced New Jersey DWI defense attorney for free.