So, are dash cams legal in Alabama?
Dash cams, or dashboard cameras, are cameras that record the driver’s view through the windshield of their automobile.
They are especially useful for recording accidents and other events that transpire on roadways. The footage they gather can be to determine fault in the case of accidents, and can be used as evidence if a crime is committed.
Despite their usefulness in legal proceedings, dash cams are not legal in all US states. Are dash cams legal in Alabama? It depends.
Alabama Code section 32-5-215 states that no object or sign may be mounted to a driver’s windshield that may obstruct the driver’s vision. In most cases, this means that windshield-mounted dash cams would not be legal in the state of Alabama. However, some dash cam models can be mounted to the dashboard, rather than the windshield. These models should be legal in Alabama, as long as they do not impair the driver’s view of the roadway.
The dash cam equivalent for motorcyclists are often mounted on helmets, and these would also be considered legal as long as they do not obstruct the motorcyclist’s vision.
While owning a dashboard or helmet-mounted dash cam is legal in Alabama, it may not always be legal to operate one. Alabama Code section 13A-11-32 states that it is a class B misdemeanor to record footage while trespassing in a private place. Dash cam owners would need permission to record video and/or audio in a private place.
It is legal in Alabama to record footage in public places.
Owning a dash cam is useful if you are in an accident or if you are a witness to a crime. However, if you are the guilty party, it is likely in the state of Alabama that the court will subpoena the footage.
Refusing to provide the footage or destroying it could result in fines or even jail time. A police officer cannot obtain your dash cam footage without a valid reason and a judge’s order.
Regardless of whether you are the victim, the guilty party, or simply a witness, dash cam footage is likely to be considered irrefutable evidence in an Alabama court. It can be used by courts or insurance companies to show fault, avoid scams, or as proof of personal injury or property damage. As long as you are a careful driver and use them properly, dash cams can provide very useful legal protection.
Now you know what the dashboard camera legalities are in Arizona, check out our other dash cam laws by state.