March 31, 2015

South Carolina Senate Subcommittee Considering Mandatory Body Cameras for South Carolina Officers

Share it Please
South Carolina Senate Subcommittee Considering Mandatory Body Cameras for South Carolina Officerscategories: DUI

A South Carolina State Senate Subcommittee recently heard arguments from both sides regarding a pending bill that would require all South Carolina police officers to wear body cameras. Briefly – the bill would require all law enforcement officers in South Carolina to wear body cameras that would record all of their contact with the public.

The voices against mandatory body cameras (primarily from law enforcement) point to the cost of outfitting all officers along with the cost of storing doubt. The data storage cost could be substantial when one thinks about the volumes of footage that would have to be retained and stored for years under current Freedom of Information Act requirements. Several estimates put the anticipated storage expenses into millions of dollars a year for some cities. Other concerns raised would include privacy; for example, when an officer comes into a home on a criminal domestic violence call; or, officers working undercover. Certainly all of the issues raised have merit.Read More

Supporters of body cameras argue that they help courts close cases faster, reduce the number of items that officers use force, and make allegations of misconduct against officers easy to investigate for both parties.

An interesting question for South Carolina drivers accused of DUI/drunk driving, is how would mandatory body cameras fit within the current statutory scheme of SC Code 56-5-2953? An argument could be made that the video recording requirements present in DUI investigations would be extended to cover all officers present with body cameras if they recorded any field sobriety tests administered to the driver; and/or show the person being arrested; and/or showed the driver being advised of their Miranda rights. Critically – these are all mandatory requirements of South Carolina’s current DUI law as it relates to “dash cams.” If South Carolina makes “body cams” mandatory then I believe a strong argument could be made under SC Code Section 56-5-2953 that all body cam footage be provided to the defense prior to a DUI/drunk driving trial. An interesting question would be if an officer has a body cam and does not follow the requirements of 56-5-2953, what is the remedy? The current judicial remedy for failure of the police to meet the requirements 56-5-2953 is dismissal of the DUI/drunk driving charge.

Greenville, South Carolina DUI Attorney Steve Sumner primarily handles misdemeanor and felony DUI/drunk driving cases. Steve is a former DUI prosecutor and has been in private practice since 1994. Steve has been recognized as a South Carolina Super Lawyer® in the field of DUI defense since 2013. He is a member of the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers™ for criminal defense. He is a member of the National College for DUI Defense and has held a judicially endorsed AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell® and a “Superb” (10.0 out 10.0) ranking with Avvo since 2011.

SC Code Section 56-5-2953


Developed in partnership with SanFran Coders.


The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
© Copyright 2010 - 2015 MY OVI | Developed by San Fran Coders