It's no secret that police often write OUI police reports generically, using a laundry list of common OUI symptoms relating to physical appearance, driving, and field sobriety testing. Sometimes these reports are essentially templates in which a select few facts are unique to the defendant. The fictional on-size-fits-all OUI suspect almost always has the same characteristics: "a strong odor of alcohol," "red watery eyes," "slurred speech," an "unsteady gait," etc.
Obviously then, it is not unusual for these reports to contain false information and exaggerations. Because of this, booking videos and in-car cruiser camera videos can be an invaluable source of exculpatory evidence.
Booking and cruiser videos can be extremely useful for a variety of reasons. They can reveal that you were not as drunk as the police said you were or otherwise undercut the officer's version of the facts. They can expose flaws in your arrest experience and the administration of field sobriety tests and breathalyzers.
During the booking process, the booking officer asks a series of background questions. The suspect will be fingerprinted, and a photograph will be taken. As such, booking videos often reveal a respectful and perhaps frightened and confused person with whom a jury could readily sympathize.
As many Massachusetts police departments are now using video cameras and taping these events, it is critical for an attorney to determine whether video evidence is available and carefully review all video evidence. Under the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure, exculpatory videos must be automatically produced. Some prosecutors, however, may not realize their duty to produce booking tapes, so it is important to have an attorney who will ensure that these videos are preserved and produced.