As its own municipality (city), Pinecrest has its own city council, mayor, and its own police department, separate and apart from the Miami-Dade Police Department. While the Miami-Dade Police Department is considered the sheriff's department for Miami-Dade County (meaning that they have jurisdiction in all parts of Miami-Dade County, unincorporated or incorporated), the Pinecrest Police Department only has jurisdiction within the city limits of Pinecrest. That means, a Pinecrest Police officer may only pull you over when you are driving within the city limits.
But Pinecrest is unique in its approach to law enforcement. It is the only city in all of Miami-Dade County to utilize dashboard cameras on police cars. No Miami-Dade police agency, including the MDPD, has done so.
Dashboard cameras are excellent tools for criminal defense attorneys to use when representing clients charged with DUI. This is because many important aspects of the DUI investigation, including the stop and the field sobriety exercises, may be captured on film.
Now this may work for and it may work against the individual charged with DUI. If the accused person is seen on film falling down or stumbling while trying to do the walk-and-turn exercise, the evidence of their impairment will be strong. However, most people who are arrested for DUI don't "fail" the roadside tests because they are staggering and stumbling. They "fail" because they don't perform to the exact specifications of the officer conducting the tests.
This permits the officer to be the sole determining factor in assessing whether or not the accused was driving under the influence, especially in a breath test refusal case. In a "normal" DUI case, the police officer will testify as to how the accused person performed on the roadside tests. Believe me, you will be hard pressed to find a cop who will testify that the accused "passed" the roadsides. When a cop has it in his or her head that you are impaired, you are going to be arrested. Bottom line.
However, Pinecrest got it right by putting dash cams in the cars. Now, jurors, judges, and prosecutors, can see for themselves just how well, or how poorly, the accused performed on these tests. If the video shows the accused standing up on their own, walking without stumbling, and showing decent balance, then the testimony of the officer is strongly contradicted by the video itself.
Videos don't lie. Witnesses sometimes do. The dash cam helps to eliminate the human factor.
Furthermore, dash cams can also be watchdogs for corrupt police officers. While the overwhelming majority of police officers in Miami-Dade County and Broward County are good, honest people, there are some bad apples. Here is a link to a disturbing story that comes out of Hollywood, Florida, where a dash cam caught five officers concocting a lie and arresting an innocent woman.
I represent clients charged with DUIs in the City of Pinecrest. I love these cases due to the fact that I can see the DUI investigation for myself instead of being forced to rely on the cop's report. A video is a completely independent witness without an agenda. A cop always has an agenda insofar as they don't want to see their arrest invalidated. In other words...they don't want to be wrong.
I practice DUI defense in Miami-Dade County, and Broward as well. I write exclusively about Miami-Dade in this entry because most of Broward's police agencies have been using dash cams for years.
If you have been arrested for DUI in the City of Pinecrest, or anywhere else in Miami-Dade or Broward County, call me to schedule a free consultation.