|Do Police Need a Search Warrant
for a Vehicle Event Data Recorder / SDM?
Do Police Need a Search Warrant for a Vehicle Event Data Recorder / SDM?
Yes, Florida Vehicular Homicide Police need a search warrant to download the data from a motor vehicle’s black box.
Tampa, Florida Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer, Attorney W.F. ”Casey” Ebsary, Jr. notes that some vehicles have a sensing and diagnostic module ( SDM ), also known as a ”black box.” Prosecutors alleged recently, data from a Corvette that was downloaded from the black box revealed that a defendant’s speed was 103 m.p.h. five seconds before impact and 98 m.p.h. one second before impact. The Speed limit was 40 m.p.h. A recent court ruling noted, ”A search warrant for property may be issued ‘[w]hen any property constitutes evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed.’ Section 933.02(3), Fla. Stat. (2006).”
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Another Court has agreed that Florida Police need a search warrant to download the data from a motor vehicle’s black box. Search Warrant Required for Vehicle Event Data Recorder . Here is some key information form the update:
Florida DUI Vehicle Event Data Recorder Key Quotes
“An event data recorder is a device installed in a vehicle to record “crash data” or technical vehicle and occupant information for a period of time before, during, and after a crash.”
“It is an issue of first impression in Florida whether a warrant is required to search an impounded vehicle’s electronic data recorder or black box.”
“17 states have laws addressing event data recorders, which provide under what circumstances the data may be downloaded.”
“[T]he constant, unrelenting black box surveillance of driving conditions could contribute to a reasonable expectation of privacy in the recorded data.”
Courts have held that ”the rate of speed of a vehicle can be firmly shown . . . to be so excessive under the circumstances that to travel that fast under the conditions is by itself a reckless disregard for human life or the safety of persons exposed to the speed.” The application for the search warrant contained the following:
Accident occurred on a Monday afternoon at 12:48 p.m. in a residential area; Car traveling in excess of 70 m.p.h. in a 40-m.p.h. zone; vehicles traveled one-hundred-twenty-five feet after impact; lack of pre-impact tire marks suggested braking did not occur; and witness heard the gears ”chirp” as the car accelerated to a faster gear. These facts showing excessive speed in a residential area were enough probable cause to get a search warrant for the car’s black box.
These allegations are from court records and the defendant is presumed innocent.