The new Forsyth County Jail is now open and with it, finally, comes audio and video recording capabilities of breath testing in DUI cases. All DUI breath tests performed at the new jail should now be recorded and available for use in a DUI defense. However, the videos are only stored for 96 hours before being recorded over.
Videos in DUI Cases
For years, we have had to rely on client's recounts of what happened during a breath test in a DUI case. Of course, most police reports read that the testing went fine and a valid result was produced with ease. However, the more questions we ask clients in our initial consultations, the more we realize that more times than not the testing procedure wasn't by the book. Until recently, in Forsyth County, you had no real recourse or way to prove a faulty test and your client was left with a he said, she said situation. Of course, putting your (intoxicated) recollection of what happened up against super-cop's account can be a challenging venture.
In Georgia, there are actually no requirements or laws dealing with the recordation of DUI stops, field testing and chemical testing. While most jurisdictions now have at least some officers with dash or body cams, the laws do not require it. With that said, videos are extremely helpful when we are building a defense, as they are the only neutral account of what happened, what was said, and whether or not the encounter went according to established procedure. Of course, if you were fall down wasted on the night in question, a video can be a fatal challenge to your case. But, many more times than not, we find ourselves, as defense attorneys, breathing a sigh of relief when a video exists.
Breath Testing DUI Videos in Forsyth County
With the new jail's video recording capabilities, our firm's standard practice is to now request that our clients' jail testing videos be preserved and made available through the discovery process. These videos will surely be helpful and shed light on the process, especially now that all breath tests must be conducted on the Intoxilyzer 9000 machine. (All Georgia law enforcement agencies must have phased out the Intoxilyzer 5000 machine by January 1, 2016.)
What to do after a DUI Arrest
If you have been recently arrested for a DUI in Forsyth County, give us a call as soon as possible after your arrest so we can discuss your case and what we must do to preserve the evidence in your case and keep your driver's license intact. With Forsyth's new polices, the breath test videos must be requested within 96 hours or they are forever gone. We don't have any information, at this point, that the prosecuting attorneys are requesting that the videos be preserved, so the burden is on you. We can be reached 24/7 at: (770) 676-1340.