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Traffic Violations on YouTube-Who Will Be Prosecuted?

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On: Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 10:46AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Traffic Violations on YouTube-Who Will Be Prosecuted?

A recent story of an exotic car dealer who was charged by local police for videos he put on YouTube, exhibiting his Lamborghinis and Ferraris on a public highway in St. Louis, Missouri, at very high speeds, has produced a lot of interest from readers. The story also sparked the interest of those involved in criminal law.

The police found videos online of the car dealer allegedly driving up to 150 mph on the interstate and wondered if the videos would be enough to convict him of speeding. The Chesterfield, Missouri, prosecutor was questioned as to what the likely outcome of the case would be: can a person get a speeding ticket because he was video-taped speeding? Although the driver was videotaped going nearly 150 mph, the arrest report shows that he is not being charged with speeding, but the actual charge is “failure to exercise care”, which is a violation of the ordinance against reckless driving.

Prosecutors say that there was no way the driver could be charged with speeding because there was no evidence that the speedometer was calibrated or that the car was really going as fast as it appeared in the tape. There was, however, evidence that he was driving recklessly in the municipality of Chesterfield because there were local buildings that were identified in the background of the videotape.

When the local Fox affiliate went to interview Jim Mills, the owner of St. Louis Motorsports, to ask him about the speeding driver in the YouTube video, his response was that “the offending driver was a rogue employee and he has been reprimanded.” Mills even went as far as to say that the dealership was not aware of any employees driving the $200,000 vehicle on the video.

Prosecutors state that they are unsure the charges will stick and that they were not personally aware of anyone being convicted of charges based solely on a videotape in the past. If convicted, the driver could be ordered to pay a fine of up to two thousand dollars and spend six months in jail.

But if driving at high speeds on the interstate in a YouTube video is a crime, and other video-taped evidence has long been considered a legitimate form of evidence for criminal prosecution, then check out this video and see if you think these perpetrators will soon be convicted—New York City police officers on video tape engaging in illegal traffic maneuvers (just as the Lamborghini driver was). Where is the justice?


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