Are Dash Cams Legal

Last updated Thursday, May 5th, 2022

Are Dash Cams Legal

Technology allows a peek into a day in the life of a driver. Dashboard cameras can monitor what takes place in and around vehicles. Law enforcement agencies have used dash cams for decades. Now all types of drivers can put these devices to work.

If an accident happens, drivers can provide dash cam footage. Proving that you obeyed traffic laws is the goal. This undeniable evidence gives much insight. Watching a clear recording can be more powerful than listening to witness accounts.

Did you sustain injuries in an accident that was not your fault? Dash cam footage may help, but not as much as an experienced attorney. Here at Murphy Law Firm, we have the legal chops that win cases. We fight on your behalf to get you rightfully compensated.

What Are Dash Cams?

Dashboard cameras are recording devices typically mounted near vehicle dashboards. These gadgets can collect footage of what happens outside the car, inside the car or both. Dash cams are often referred to as silent witnesses. These cameras catch an unbiased view of incidents that could be important.

Eyewitness statements are no longer the benchmark of an open and shut case. A dash cam can record accidents, traffic stops and road rage outbursts. Once these events are preserved, they can be used to prove innocence… and guilt.

Do you park on the street, in a parking garage or shared driveway? There are some models that can keep recording once a vehicle is parked. Set this feature up to catch hit and runs, parking lot fender benders and vandalism.

You deserve and need compensation for your car accident.
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Common Types of Dash Cameras Include:

  • Front and Interior. There’s no need to choose between recording what’s in front of the vehicle or what’s going on inside. This type of dashboard camera records both. Depending on placement, the inside facing camera may even catch events occurring just behind the rear windshield.
  • Front and Rear. This camera can record what’s going on in front of and behind the vehicle at the same time. Owners living in high-traffic areas may prefer this style.
  • Rear. Generally mounted on the rear windshield, this device records what happens behind the car. A vehicle backing into you is an example of why footage from this gadget is handy.
  • Standard. This camera records what goes on right ahead of the vehicle. Baseline models like this are a cost-effective option. This device is designed to be installed on the dashboard or front windshield.

How do Dash Cams Work?

Filming day after day for hours at a stretch, these cameras are workhorses. Dash cams are designed to record once the ignition starts. So what’s the power source?

Batteries are an option but need frequent recharging. Plug the cord into the cigarette lighter (12V socket) or USB port for a simpler solution.

Tech-savvy buyers can hardwire the device into the car’s electrical system. Be advised though, the process can be complicated. Damages could occur if hardwiring is done incorrectly. Not an electronics whiz? You might feel more comfortable with a professional hardwiring installation.

Memory can either be built in, removable (via micro SD cards) or connected to a cloud. Camera may film on a loop or offer cloud storage, depending on the model. Most current styles detect the impact of a crash. Memory automatically locks so footage leading to accident saves automatically.

Technology constantly continues improving these helpful devices. Video quality is only getting better. Glare is reduced, camera stays steady and definition is clear. Car makes and models, as well as license plates, are easier to see. Night vision and motion detection are practical additions.

11 Great Reasons to Use a Dash Cam

These little cameras offer so many benefits that definitely outweigh their cost. A dash cam sees all. You’ve got evidence if a person claims you ran a light and hit him, but he actually ran the light and hit you. 

Users get:

  1. Accident Recordings. Any crash footage can be useful when you’re not at fault. Anytime you’ve got virtually no shot of proving your innocence, this video is critical. Interstate sideswipes, lane changes without signaling, failure to yield and following too closely are examples of hard-to-prove cases.
  2. An Electronic Chaperon. Handing over your keys to new drivers can be worrisome. Put your mind at ease. You can go over what your kiddos do when they borrow the car. If skills need polishing, a defensive driving course could be an option.
  3. Crime Footage. A kidnapping occurred within view. Your car was deliberately keyed. Someone slashed your tires. Even if you weren’t the victim, you may be able to help authorities with your video.
  4. Crime Prevention. Criminals are getting smarter. Those who don’t want to be caught may avoid vehicles with recording devices in plain sight. Car jackings and robberies probably aren’t as likely to happen when video is being taken. Would-be con artists look for victims without dash cams so antics aren’t caught on screen.
  5. Extra Safety Features. Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) can prevent crashes with lane departure and collision warnings. Alexa-enhanced dash cams are available. Some models can alert a contact in the event of an accident. If the driver is unresponsive, certain cameras can notify emergency services.
  6. Fraud Protection. Predators are on the lookout for a quick buck. Staged “accidents” happen all the time. These shakedowns may involve pedestrians, additional drivers and many passengers. Fake witnesses could even be on hand to give false testimonies.
  7. Hit and Run Proof. A dash cam that runs while the vehicle is parked records nearby activity. You’ll have incriminating footage if another driver runs into your car. You can show your insurance carrier exactly what happened.
  8. Savings. Dash cam footage can be money in the bank. You can show a chain of events. Fault can be proven. Insurance premiums may not go up if you provide evidence showing you weren’t in the wrong. New York even offers an incentive for dash cam users- reduced auto insurance rates. Other states may follow suit.
  9. Situation Documentation. These cameras help in many scenarios. A police officer says you ran a stop sign, but you know you didn’t. Your car is mistakenly identified as a getaway car. You have footage to back up your claims.
  10. Traffic Stop Footage. There’s no such thing as being too safe. Recording any exchange between you and a law enforcement officer can be a good idea. If anything unsavory goes down, it won’t turn into a ‘he said, she said’ situation.
  11. Quicker Claims Process. Insurance companies may drag their feet when accident details are blurry. Stop getting transferred and waiting on hold forever. Submitting clear accident footage can wrap things up much faster.

You deserve and need compensation for your car accident.
Call Attorney James Murphy
770-577-3020 for FREE Legal Advice!

Are Dash Cams Legal?

These devices can’t be all that great if they’re not legal. Federal laws make it perfectly legal for drivers to use dash cams, but state laws are different.

The main issue with state legality deals with placement. Some states are strict about anything being mounted in the windshield. The idea is that an obstructed view outweighs any benefits that cameras offer.

Many states have a pretty defined view of dash cam use. Windshield-mounted dash cams are banned in certain states. Others have specific instructions in hopes of maintaining a clear line of vision for drivers. A few are vague and allow room for interpretation.

Are Dash Cams Illegal?

These small cameras aren’t illegal because no state expressly prohibits them. Federal laws keep dash cams legal too.

Something that can be illegal with dash cam use is secretly recording audio. The federal government has laws against recording people’s conversations without their knowledge. Some states deem this practice illegal as well.

You should be good to go by following applicable state mandates. Mount your dash cam as advised.

Don’t record passengers without getting their consent first. Can’t remember to take such precautions? Use signage that clearly states a recording device is in use. Or simply disconnect the audio feature so it no longer functions.

Legal Placement of Dash Cam?

Mount your dashboard camera according to state laws. Use your dash cam legally by knowing your region’s requirements. It’s a good idea to recheck laws frequently, as they can and do change.

States who take issue with dash cams do so in the interest of safety. Any windshield-mounted devices shouldn’t limit a driver’s vision.

Rough guidelines of dash cam placement:

Every state is different. Laws are updated regularly. Below is not a hard and fast rule, but merely a general idea. The best way to avoid the fuzz is to check your current laws before installing. Regularly look to see if any rules have changed.

Middle or Driver’s Side of the Windshield:

  • Don’t block more than five square inches.
  • Don’t install within airbag deployment zone.

Passenger Side of the Windshield:

  • Don’t block more than seven square inches.
  • Don’t install within airbag deployment zone.

Legal Tip: Footage collected from a dash cam found to obscure your view may not be legally admissible. Mount recording devices according to state laws. Before traveling out-of-state, be sure to check the laws of the states you’ll be driving through. Stay out of trouble by staying in compliance. A fun road trip is a legal road trip.

Is Dash Cam Footage Admissible in Court?

Yes! If directly related to your case, dash cam footage is usually allowed. Headed to traffic court for running a red light? Presenting a video that shows a different story can clear you.

There are some policies users need to be aware of before presenting recordings. If dash cams record what happens on private property, it probably won’t be admissible since privacy has likely been invaded. Interior recordings must only be done with passengers who have consented beforehand.

Were you involved in a car accident? Do you have dash camera footage you think could help? The best way to know for sure is to contact a knowledgeable attorney. Our team at Murphy Law Firm can assess your video to make sure it will aid your case.

Dashboard camera footage isn’t always helpful. Depending on what is shown, a video may complicate things. Worse yet, a recording could even hurt your case. A court can actually use evidence collected from your dash cam against you.

We understand how to best protect your legal rights! We know what to look for in accident recordings. Schedule a no-obligation consultation with us to learn what we can do for you! We’ll evaluate your dash cam video. If beneficial, we’ll present your footage to prove your claim. Let us put our legal expertise to work for you!

You deserve and need compensation for your car accident.
Call Attorney James Murphy
770-577-3020 for FREE Legal Advice!

Dash Cam Legality by State

Ignorance is usually not bliss, especially in the eyes of the law. Follow state regulations to avoid dash cam trouble. States highlighted in red indicate the need to proceed with caution.

Alabama

Nothing can be mounted on a passenger car’s windshield. If device doesn’t block view, it can be placed on the dashboard.

Alaska

Dash cams that don’t obstruct a driver’s view are legal according to Alaska Statute 13.04.225. Devices must be smaller than five square inches when mounted on the driver’s side or less than seven square inches on the passenger side.

Arizona

Anything placed on the windshield, side windows or rear windshield cannot obstruct a driver’s view. Like Alaska, dash cams must be smaller than seven square inches on the passenger side or smaller than five square inches if affixed to the driver’s side.

Arkansas

Recording devices are to be mounted behind rearview mirrors. The driver’s view must not be blocked to remain legal.

California

Although this state bans anything that blocks the windshield, dashboard cameras get a free pass. California has strict mounting options:

  • Far left, lowest windshield corner without blocking more than five square inches
  • In the middle as high as possible without obstructing more than five square inches
  • Lower passenger side corner without blocking more than seven square inches

Colorado

The Centennial State shuns the shiny. Recording devices can’t have any metallic or mirrored materials. This rule intends to keep bright sunlight from causing brief blindness while driving.

Dash cams cannot obstruct the driver’s view and can be placed behind rearview mirrors.

Connecticut

It is illegal for any nontransparent item to ride on the windshield. Affix any devices to the dashboard.

Delaware

The First State prohibits driving with any nontransparent item stuck to any type of window in a vehicle. The dashboard is your best bet for placement here.

District of Columbia

It’s illegal to use a windshield-mounted dash cam. Passenger consent must be granted prior to any audio recording.

Florida

While the Sunshine State doesn’t allow obstructive, nontransparent items affixed to the windshield, dash cam use isn’t restricted. Stay on the safe side. Keep devices out of your frame of vision.

Georgia

Nontransparent articles are not allowed on front windshields when vehicle is in use. Use the dashboard for placement instead.

Hawaii

If mounting on the driver’s side, a device can be up to five square inches. If installing on the passenger’s side, a device can be up to seven square inches. Placement can be in any corners of the front windshield. The dashboard and rear windshield are also up for grabs.

Idaho

Nontransparent materials can’t be legally mounted on windshields. Dashboards are a suitable alternative.

Illinois

Mounted devices cannot obstruct the driver’s view. If installing on the windshield, choose a device no larger than five square inches.

Indiana

Dash cams must not exceed four square inches. Placement is allowed on the dashboard and the lower right windshield corner.

Iowa

While dash cams are not specifically mentioned, Iowa does require that drivers maintain a clear view. Any window or windshield cannot obstruct a vehicle operator’s vision. Have a small dash cam installed so you still have a full range of vision.

Kansas

Use your best judgement when looking for just the right spot. Kansas gives a thumb’s up if the driver’s vision is not obstructed.

Kentucky

This commonwealth doesn’t restrict or ban dash cams or their placement. Use your best judgement when installing so driver’s sight isn’t limited.

Louisiana

It is illegal to operate vehicles with any nontransparent object attached to windshields. Mount devices on dashboards.

Maine

It’s perfectly legal to use dash cams if they do not block the driver’s view. Both windshields and dashboards are acceptable for placement.

Maryland

There are only a couple of positions where windshield-mounted dash cams are legal. A lower corner can accommodate a device up to seven square inches. Or devices can be mounted above AS-1 lines, or roughly five inches down from a windshield’s highest point.

Massachusetts

Dash cams can’t be legally mounted to the front windshield. Use the dashboard instead. Devices are permitted on side windows if they aren’t reflective.

Michigan

Windshields aren’t legal mounting areas unless vehicle is a tractor-trailer, bus, or truck carrying 10,000-plus pounds or hazardous materials. Passenger cars should use dashboards to mount devices.

Minnesota

Dash cams are legal if affixed directly behind, a tad above or a bit beneath rearview mirrors.

Mississippi

Nothing is allowed to distract drivers or obstruct their view. While dash cams are not singled out, stay safe by mounting them on dashboards.

Missouri

As no laws dictate dashboard camera use, drivers can install these devices where they want. Caution should be taken to maintain an unobstructed view.

Montana

No item of any kind can prevent a windshield from being completely clear. The dashboard is a fitting substitute.

Nebraska

The dashboard can be used in this state that prohibits windshield-mounted dash cams. Passengers must consent to audio recordings.

Nevada

Dash cams can sit anywhere on the dashboard. Windshield placement is limited to the lower right corner in an area less than six square inches.

New Hampshire

Front windshield-mounted dash cams are illegal. Recording devices may be installed on dashboards or rear windshields.

New Jersey

Nontransparent items aren’t allowed on front windshields, passenger windows or driver windows. Dashboard-mounted devices are acceptable. Optimal placement is on passenger side of the dashboard close to the windshield.

New Mexico

Nontransparent objects aren’t allowed on front windshields, rear windows (when used to boost visibility) or side windows near drivers. Your best bet is to mount dash cams to the dashboard.

New York

Even though New Yorkers can’t legally mount dash cams on windshields, this state openly invites use. Passenger car drivers with operational dash cams are eligible for a five percent discount from their auto insurance premiums, according to New York bill A5132. Mount devices on the dashboard.

North Carolina

The Tar Heel State does not have any dash cam-specific laws. Find a spot that does not impair your view before installing.

North Dakota

Nothing can block any part of the windshield. Install devices on dashboards.

Ohio

Windshield-mounted cameras are not allowed. What goes on inside vehicles can be recorded when dash cams aren’t mounted on windshields.

Oklahoma

Dash cams can be installed on dashboards if they don’t obstruct the driver’s view. No windshield mounting is permitted.

Oregon

No windows or windshields can be obstructed. The dashboard makes a suitable alternative.

Pennsylvania

Nothing can block either windshield or any windows. Dashboard-mounting is a solution.

Rhode Island

Windshield-mounted dash cams aren’t allowed. Install device on the dashboard so it does not obstruct the driver’s view.

South Carolina

Dash cams are illegal if mounted on windows or front windshields. Dashboards are a sensible alternative.

South Dakota

Vehicles may not display nontransparent items on front windshields or windows. Dashboard-mounting is perfectly acceptable. Audio and video can be legally recorded within autos when notice is given.

Tennessee

Windshield-mounted electronic devices are prohibited. Dashboard installation is legal.

Texas

Nothing in a window or windshield can obstruct the driver’s view. Mount recording devices on dashboards so they stay out of the way.

Utah

Windshield installation is legal with restrictions. The top of the windshield is alright provided device doesn’t stick out past four inches. Driver’s side corner is another option, but object can’t creep past four inches towards operator. Dashboards and rear windshields are fair game as well.

Vermont

Windshield mounting is fine. If installing on the upper driver’s side corner, device can’t exceed 2 inches in height and 2 ½ inches in length. If installing on the lower passenger side corner, dash cams must be less than four inches in height and a foot in length.

Virginia

This commonwealth prohibits windshield-mounted dash cams. Dashboard placement is allowed. Install in a spot where driver maintains an unobstructed view.

Washington

Operating vehicles is prohibited if any nontransparent objects obstruct the driver’s view according to Washington State Legislature Section 46.37.410. Areas include front windshields, side windows, side wings and rear windows. The dashboard may be the best place for installation.

West Virginia

Nontransparent items are prohibited on front windshields in the Mountain State. Dashboard installation is another option. Keep device out of driver’s line of vision.

Wisconsin

While windshield-mounting is allowed, there are specific restrictions. Dash cams must be installed behind rearview mirrors, but they are to stay out of area cleaned by front wipers. It may be safest to install in a remote spot on the dashboard.

Wyoming

Windshield-mounted dash cams are not permitted. Stay in compliance by using the dashboard instead.

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770-577-3020 for FREE Legal Advice!


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