cedar rapids / iowa city criminal defense

1450 Boyson Road Suite C-2A Hiawatha, Iowa 52233     319-389-1889

Body camera in use by West Midlands Police, United Kingdom. Image credit: By West Midlands Police from West Midlands, United Kingdom (Lapel cameras  Uploaded by tm) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


If you or a loved one is charged with a crime, such as OWI (DUI) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Anamosa, Vinton, Anamosa,  or Linn, Johnson, Benton, Jones, or Iowa counties, please contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC at 319-389-1889 for an initial consultation. David A. Cmelik Law PLC is limited exclusively to Iowa criminal defense and may be found at 211 Third Avenue SW Suite 1, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, by appointment. 
Without a Datamaster test and without field sobriety tests in becomes much more difficult for a jury to substantively corroborate the officer’s observations of probable insobriety. I think the body cameras are a good thing but I believe they should supplement, not substitute for, in-car dash cameras. 
Moreover, the results of the preliminary breath test (PBT) are inadmissible under state law to prove whether the Defendant was operated while intoxicated but are used as one of many factors in the “reasonable grounds” to trigger implied consent and a request for a more comprehensive Datamaster breath test back at the stationhouse. 

The walk and turn and one-leg stand, if photographed in good lighting conditions and under optimal testing conditions can corroborate those subjective observations. Without them, it is possible to argue that there is not enough evidence to credit the officers' other subjective observations.
I think body cams are a good thing but as a supplement to, not a substitute for, in-dash patrol car cameras. 
1.     Bloodshot, watery eyes 
​2.     Slurred speech

3.     Odor of alcohol “about” the
​person.



the officer’s subjective observations might otherwise be objectively debunked, which typically contain the following cut and paste assertions:
Of course, the prosecution argued in plea negotiations that the test refusal was all that was needed to secure a guilty verdict (because in Iowa a Datamaster test refusal is admissible and prosecutors may argue that is indicative of guilt). While true, I would argue that a test refusal proves nothing and that the field sobriety tests are important to determine whether 

In any case, without the in-dash camera, there was not a fixed camera position with image stabilization and the field sobriety tests were not optimally recorded. That cuts both ways for the prosecution and the defense. In this case, however, because there was no breath test—it was a test refusal—the field sobriety tests became more important.
without the in-dash camera, there was not a fixed camera position with image stabilization and the field sobriety tests were not optimally recorded.
First, it was used as a substitute for the in-dash patrol car video. It does not appear that was a specific protocol, but in this particular anecdotal case/situation, the officer specifically directed another officer that he had his body camera running and that the follow-on officer did not need to have his in-dash camera running. I think the more audio/video sources helps everyone. That’s why, in my opinion, it was not controversial for the White House to propose that law enforcementadd body cameras to their toolbox. Of course, funding is always an issue. 

I had my first body cam case last month. It was an OWI (DUI) case in Iowa and a municipal law enforcement agency that has early-adopted body cameras. I applaud the decision. However, it’s going to require getting some of the bugs out.  


Body Cameras in Iowa Criminal Defense and My Experience with a Recent OWI (DUI) Case Involving a Body Cam

by David Cmelik