All across America, smart doorbells like Ring and Nest are giving homeowners a sense of safety and security. They allow consumers to see who is at their front door as well as any potential crime deterrents that might happen. These devices give the customer a cheaper alternative to home security.
Usually, commercials show happy and heartwarming footage, such as kids being locked out and communicating to their parents about where to find a spare key. They also show some mailmen doing a little dance when they find some snacks and drinks have been left out for them. However, they will oftentimes also catch people stealing packages off of front porches, attempted home invasions, as well as car break-ins.
This is where the question of using doorbell footage as evidence in a car accident court case comes into play. All around the country, law enforcement officials, including several Tennessee police departments partnering alongside Ring, have been using an app called “Neighbor.” Neighbor is a free app that can be downloaded from the app store that allows people to upload footage from their Ring devices they share with other people as well as law enforcement is only allowed to view public and shared footage. If footage is requested from Ring users, a valid and relevant case number has to be provided.
Constitutional Challenges of Using Ring Doorbell Footage in Court
When it comes to using Ring doorbell footage, it may become a little complicated in the courtroom. In the state of Tennessee, the court system has its own legislation when it comes to video and audio recordings.
As video doorbells are considered an emerging technology, these have their own rules and challenges. Some challengers believe that Ring Doorbell’s camera footage violates a person’s Fourth Amendment rights. Arguments also claim that when the police have access to the footage, it constitutes a search without a warrant.
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Can Doorbell Camera Footage Be Considered an Invasion of Privacy?
Everyone in America has a right to privacy when it comes to in and around their home. That includes inside the home and all of the surrounding areas. Without a warrant, the authorities have no right to search and seize any property.
The argument surrounding using doorbell footage as evidence states that they are within their rights, and allowing access enables a warrantless search. Has that defense been successful in cases? In most cases, no. These cases come down to whether a crime has been committed in public view or not.
A news report in New Mexico shows that an individual was caught on camera carrying an assault weapon down the street. That person was charged with a felony. However, it was ruled that it was not a warrantless search, as they were carrying a weapon out in the open where anyone could see it.
Examples of Car Accidents Caught on Ring Doorbells
In the city of Mandeville, LA, a Ring doorbell captured a pickup truck crashing into the back of a school bus waiting to pick up two small children. Parents say it could have been much worse. In the video, you see a school bus slow down and put on its flashing lights as it pulls up to pick up two small children.
A pickup truck then crashes at full speed into the back end of the school bus, ending up underneath and pushing the bus forward down the road. The ladder that had been strapped onto the top of the truck had flown off and almost hit one of the children waiting on the side of the road.
Other Examples of Ring Doorbells Catching Collisions on Camera
In a small town outside of Philadelphia, PA, residents were awoken by the sounds of a car crash. The car in question had run into several parked cars along the way. One person’s doorbell camera captured the wild ride.
Police say they had a quick discussion with the driver. It is unknown why the driver sped off, drove through the stop sign, and then lost control of the car. After that happened, the driver got out of the car and ran a little way down the street, stumbled into more than one vehicle, and then fell onto the ground.
Authorities said the 30-year-old did not suffer serious injuries. But they did say he then resisted arrest. The man was facing charges and was held on a bond of $50,000.
Some Key Takeaways Regarding Doorbell Cameras
Some of the most important considerations surrounding doorbell camera footage in the courtroom include:
- Video doorbells offer 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week surveillance, whereas traditional doorbells cannot
- Video doorbells offer high-quality images and footage of anyone that goes up to your front door
- Video footage can be used for evidence regarding drunk driving, theft, robberies, trespassing, and vandalism
- Video footage is admissible in court, just like any other form of evidence
- In order for doorbell footage to be used in court, the images and video need to be clear, unedited, and reliable
- Video usage needs to comply with any legal guidelines along with privacy concerns with addresses to protect the person’s privacy when being recorded by the devices
Doorbell Cam Footage as Evidence in Court for Home Security Violations
Doorbell cameras have become one of the most popular additions to home security. They offer 24/7 surveillance, which traditional doorbells cannot. They are able to capture high-quality images and videos of anyone that goes to your front door.
They are also great at deterring any potential unwanted guests. A huge advantage of video doorbells is the functionality when it comes to recording. When someone walks up to your front door, the camera starts recording, which you are able to watch right then or watch back if you were away from home.
Get Help from a Reputable Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Some video doorbells have limitations, but they are able to play a vital role in enhancing your home security while also providing evidence in civil court. Homeowners and attorneys should look into adding a video doorbell to their home security while learning how to use the evidence recorded in court.
Contact a dedicated Georgia personal injury attorney at John Foy & Associates for a 100% free consultation. You can call our office or reach us through our convenient contact form to start building a compelling case against the liable party as soon as today.