When an officer stops someone who is clearly intoxicated – smelling of alcohol, failing sobriety tests, and so forth, but refuses to allow a blood alcohol test, a police officer doesn’t really have much to go on. The officer will have to get a judge’s order to test the driver before the alcohol is gone.
Today, an officer can turn to Skype for help. Once such officer, in Palm Bay Florida, has used Skype five times between January and April of 2011, calling a judge with the internet video conferencing software.
“I typed up the warrant and connect with the judge using Skype while (the suspect) was still in the car,” the officer told New York Criminal Law Offices. It was his idea to use technology to speed up a search warrant for blood from drivers who are stopped on suspicion of impaired driving.
That Florida county is considering using Skype to help with driving-under-the-influence cases on a wider basis. In one particular case, a woman was shown to have twice the legal limit of alcohol in her blood, once the officer was allowed to test her. She was not only charged with DWI, she was already on probation for it.
“It’s like something out of ‘Star Trek,’” the officer said, as he spoke of the 15 minutes he talked to the judge on Skype.
So far, there is only one judge using Skype for warrants. Court officials explained to New York Criminal Law Offices that he was not allowed to comment.
Video technology like closed-circuit television has been in use in Brevard County, Florida for a while in bond hearings and first appearances at the jail. In these cases, the necessary documents are sent by fax and the judge can be seen on a large TV set near the bench. Video is also used to allow witnesses to testify when they are unavailable to be there in person.
Skype, being a video conference tool available on laptops and cellphones, can be of more use in the field and in places like Manhattan and Long Island, and can potentially save both time and money for law enforcement.
Technology changes the enforcement of law, and sometimes even the law itself, but many things remain the same, such as the need for a good defense. Should you find yourself in need of legal defense, you can do no better than a New York Criminal Law Office. Don’t put your future into the hands of a lesser attorney – your best possible resource is a New York Criminal Law Office. The Office of Stephen Bilkis and Associates can offer you support and guidance as well as a free consultation when you contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW. We have offices in New York City, including Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and The Bronx and in Nassau County, Suffolk County and Westchester County.