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How To Get Surveillance Video for Your Case

Do you need surveillance video for your case? Surveillance cameras are becoming more and more popular, meaning that the use of video evidence is becoming increasingly important. Whether it’s a criminal investigation, civil dispute, or personal injury, having access to surveillance footage can make all the difference in determining the outcome of a case.

Laws About Surveillance Video

If a person or business has not consented to being recorded, then any recording made without their consent is illegal. According to Cal. Penal Code § 632(a) capturing private conversations, through video or audio, without the other party’s consent is subject to wiretapping statutes and eavesdropping laws

Knowing what kind of permission is needed will depend on exactly what is being recorded and where it is taking place. For example, personal injury cases such as slip and fall or car accidents will require a different process than criminal investigations. 

How To Legally Request Video Footage

In California, you must follow the rules of discovery when obtaining surveillance video. This means you must provide notice to the other party that you are seeking the video, and you must comply with any protective orders or confidentiality agreements.

The first step is determining who owns or operates the cameras from which you would like to collect evidence. Depending on where and when the recording occurred this could include :

  • private individuals, such as dash cameras and other personal surveillance recorders 
  • businesses: for example a store or parking lot
  • government entities: including traffic cameras & body cams

Once you have identified potential sources of video, the next step is to send a preservation letter to the custodians of the video. A preservation letter is a written request to preserve any relevant video footage. The letter should include:

  • The names and contact information of the parties involved in the case
  • The date and location of the incident
  • A description of the type of video footage that may exist
  • A request to preserve any relevant video footage, including a specific timeframe
  • A warning not to destroy or alter any video footage

Tips for Obtaining Surveillance Video

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Act quickly: Time is of the essence when it comes to obtaining surveillance video. Video footage can be deleted or overwritten if not preserved in a timely manner, so it's important to send a preservation letter as soon as possible.
  • Be specific: When sending a preservation letter or subpoena, be as specific as possible about the type of video footage you are seeking and the timeframe in which it was recorded. This can help ensure that you obtain the most relevant footage.
  • Work with an experienced attorney: Obtaining surveillance video can be a complex process, and it's important to work with an attorney who has experience in this area. An attorney can help guide you through the legal requirements and can advocate for your rights in court if necessary.

If the custodian of the video does not voluntarily provide the video footage, the next step is to send a subpoena or court order. A subpoena is a legal order that compels the custodian to provide the video footage. A court order is a more formal legal order that is issued by a judge. To obtain a subpoena or court order, you must file a motion with the court and show that the video footage is relevant and necessary to the case.

Proving Your Case Through Surveillance Footage

Once you understand the legal parameters of surveillance video, it’s time to consider how best to use this evidence in court. To be successful with this type of evidence, there are several things that need to be proven: first and foremost that the footage was legally obtained; second, that it accurately reflects what happened at a certain location or during a specific event; and third, that it is admissible under applicable laws.

In order for surveillance footage to prove your case effectively, you must establish its authenticity as well as show that any data collected has not been altered by anyone after the fact. You can do this by obtaining written statements from parties involved in the recording process verifying accuracy or providing testimony about their involvement. Additionally, if possible, obtain physical copies of the original recordings rather than relying solely on digital versions which may have been tampered with or manipulated.

Finally, if you have met all these requirements then you should be able to present your evidence in court without much difficulty. With proper preparation and knowledge about relevant laws, using surveillance footage can help make a difference in proving your case in court.

Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers To Meet With A Legal Professional

When it comes to obtaining surveillance video for your case, the best way forward is to consult with a legal professional. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, we understand that this process can be confusing and time-consuming. Our lawyers always strive to provide reliable information and resources while ensuring that all legal requirements are met throughout each step of the process. If you have been injured as a result of utter negligence or malice and need to obtain any surveillance footage regarding your incident, reach out today to schedule a free consultation!

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