New Hampshire's DWI Roadblocks: Why No Videotape?

As the 2008 Labor Day Weekend begins, it is more likely than ever before that you will be stopped at a DWI roadblock in New Hampshire. If you have been arrested, you will probably wonder how you can get a videotape of your arrest. Once you talk with a New Hampshire DWI defense lawyer you will learn that most New Hampshire DWI roadblocks are not videotaped by the police. This may seem odd to you if you have been trapped in a DWI roadblock, with the obviously huge cost in terms of large numbers of police officers, vehicles, signs, breath testing gadgets and other equipment. Why do the police choose not to videotape these massive seizures of innocent citizens?

Just about everywhere you go today in public you are videotaped. You are videotaped at your bank, supermarket, shopping mall, drive through lines for fast food, donut shops, even little convenience stores. Just about every place you go is equipped with a video camera these days. If some one holds up a store or commits just about any crime in public there is a video of the event on the evening news, copied from a private or public surveillance camera. It has become very inexpensive to capture a high quality audio and video recording for safety and security purposes of just about every aspect of our everyday lives. Why then, do the police choose not to videotape DWI roadblocks in New Hampshire? If the DWI roadblocks are as effective at catching drunks as the police claim they must be confident that drunk drivers will roll into a certain spot at a certain time. Why not videotape the alleged drunk's speech, balance, field sobriety tests, and breath test?

When you watch cop shows at night all sorts of DWI and other arrests are captured on cruiser videos all over the country. You can see clearly and hear easily whether the driver is drunk or not on these video recordings made from cruiser cameras. Police departments all around the country also video and audio record bookings. With a good quality video recording little is left to the imagination as to whether the driver was really drunk or not. So why aren't most DWI roadblocks in New Hampshire video and audio recorded?

Is it a "safety issue"? It would seem unlikely that there is a safety issue here that doesn't exist in any other part of the United States. Is it cost? That seems unlikely with the massive amount of money being thrown into inefficient DWI roadblocks and inaccurate hand-held breath testing gadgets. Last year stories were published about a $400,000.00 "batmobile" for the local police to use during DWI roadblocks. It cannot seriously be argued that the police cannot afford to videotape DWI roadblocks.

So if it's not safety and it's not cost, what could it be? We all know that DWI is a serious law enforcement concern; we hear that all the time, year after road-blocking year. Every Labor Day Weekend we hear that there will be a "DWI crackdown". Wouldn't the best way to prosecute or "crack down" on a real drunk driving case be to show the judge or jury a videotape of the driver if he or she was really drunk? So why DON'T the police want to show a videotape of a drunk driver at a drunk driving trial? And if DWI roadblocks are really effective enough to annihilate our Fourth Amendment rights, why wouldn't the police want every one to see proof of that effectiveness on videotape?

Could it be that some of the people arrested for drunk driving are not drunk? Or that they really don't act and speak as drunkardly as the police reports describe? It is easy enough to form your own conclusions as to why most New Hampshire DWI roadblocks are not videotaped.

Have a good weekend,

Mark Stevens

5 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079




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1 comment:

  1. Please contact me after you read this. Doug-- http://granitegrok.com/blog/2008/09/live_free_or_die_lately_it_seems_nhs_cop.html