• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Tampering with evidence?

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

whowetalkinbout

Junior Member
What is the name of your state: CA
If MVARS is modified and used against a defendant in a felony case, does the file have to be unmodified?
(The evidence includes an onboard dash cam of CHP driving erratically and at unsafe speeds through dark residential neighborhood without any pursuit lighting or regard for signage. There is no vehicle in front of cruiser. When subject pulled around corner in which he had right-of-way, patrol changed direction with a sudden Uturn, after running stop sign)
The footage has no audio for the first 90 seconds of video. This edit seems like tampering, considering the probable cause, later summarized by officers, claims a pursuit of a vehicle never seen by driver, nor MVARS.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
Nope, that's the way MVARS works. While it runs the video continuously (overwriting stuff previously recorded if not triggered for save), it only starts the audio when some triggering event (like the car operating its red lights). Don't ask me why no audio, but I suppose our resident Cal LEO will know (probably to give the officer some privacy to fart when not on a call or something).
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
The footage has no audio for the first 90 seconds of video. This edit seems like tampering, considering the probable cause, later summarized by officers, claims a pursuit of a vehicle never seen by driver, nor MVARS.
The fact that there is no audio for the first part of the video does not necessarily mean any editing or tampering. It could be that, as Ron noted, that the microphone was not turned on during that time, and only activated upon some event or condition, like activating the siren and/or flashing lights. The defendant charged with the felony is entitled to a copy of the video and the defendant can have an expert examine the video to see if there are any signs of tampering. If there are, then that could provide a basis to challenge the video. Of course, experts are usually not cheap.
 

CdwJava

Senior Member
While not specifically knowledgeable with the MVARS used by the CHP, I CAN tell you that the video observed at the start of some law enforcement videos tend to have no audio for one of two reasons. The first is that there is a 30 second (give or take, depending on device) loop of continuous video that is added on to a recording when the camera is activated. So, if I turn on the camera by activating my lights as I pull in behind you, the camera will automatically retrieve the prior 30 seconds of video without audio.

The second is that the audio may have been redacted due to the presence of unrelated and possibly confidential or identifying radio traffic being heard. It's bad form to allow audio of another (most likely uninvolved) person's personal and identifying info to be released into the public sphere.

Most video systems would be insanely difficult to tamper with due to how the video is uploaded, saved, and later retrieved. An individual DVD of a video MIGHT be able to be manipulated, provided someone knew A LOT about the system, the encryption (if any) and had the means and knowledge to edit it in some effective way. The original file? Not at all likely.

I suspect that in your case, you have a redacted audio version of the video and the video may have been activated after the incident in question had already passed. Your attorney is free to make inquiry or act as they see fit in the matter.
 

whowetalkinbout

Junior Member
While not specifically knowledgeable with the MVARS used by the CHP, I CAN tell you that the video observed at the start of some law enforcement videos tend to have no audio for one of two reasons. The first is that there is a 30 second (give or take, depending on device) loop of continuous video that is added on to a recording when the camera is activated. So, if I turn on the camera by activating my lights as I pull in behind you, the camera will automatically retrieve the prior 30 seconds of video without audio.

The second is that the audio may have been redacted due to the presence of unrelated and possibly confidential or identifying radio traffic being heard. It's bad form to allow audio of another (most likely uninvolved) person's personal and identifying info to be released into the public sphere.

Most video systems would be insanely difficult to tamper with due to how the video is uploaded, saved, and later retrieved. An individual DVD of a video MIGHT be able to be manipulated, provided someone knew A LOT about the system, the encryption (if any) and had the means and knowledge to edit it in some effective way. The original file? Not at all likely.

I suspect that in your case, you have a redacted audio version of the video and the video may have been activated after the incident in question had already passed. Your attorney is free to make inquiry or act as they see fit in the matter.
thank you for taking the time to answer my question, i appreciate it, and it helps open doors as far what i never considered. i completely understand the background radio possibly invading privacy...i guess. although, it is the chatter on the radio that is of interest. obable cause correctable infraction
It stands for "posting history." And, apparently you have your profile on a setting that limits what people can see about you.
It stands for "posting history." And, apparently you have your profile on a setting that limits what people can see about you.
AH! gotcha. yes, i was worried about running my big fat mouth and it's possible consequence to those involved in what i was asking the group about....hoping not to regret my decision...i'll go back and make myself visible, if it matters to y'all.
i did kinda like how i wasnt yelled at yet, though....i'll confess.
 
Nope, that's the way MVARS works. While it runs the video continuously (overwriting stuff previously recorded if not triggered for save), it only starts the audio when some triggering event (like the car operating its red lights). Don't ask me why no audio, but I suppose our resident Cal LEO will know (probably to give the officer some privacy to fart when not on a call or something).
I used to sing while alone in my patrol car. Not something that should be recorded ;)
 

quincy

Senior Member
FlyingRon made an interesting observation about body cams. Hopefully he will add it here - or people can search it out in the tax section of the forum (where he seems to have mislaid it ;)).
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
Yeah, sorry about that. I was just observing the body cams work the other way. They record audio in advance of being activated for video recording. Some bad cops made some incriminating statements right before they activated the cameras and got caught by that feature.
 

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential
Top