In short, US police CAN seize your Dash Cam if they believe that your camera has recorded a crime. It is important to note that if they would like to view your footage, they are within their rights asking to see recordings, but they cannot force you to show them. The only way they can forcefully view the footage, make a copy of the footage or review it after seizure is through the legal system by acquiring a subpoena or search warrant.
Exigent circumstances justify actions by law enforcement officers acting without a warrant. Exigent circumstances may become relevant with a Dash Cam if an officer declares that they suspect your footage contains potential evidence and deem it necessary to mitigate the risk of footage being lost, destroyed or tampered with if left in your possession. If this is the case the officer can seize your Dash Cam, but they will need a search warrant or subpoena to view the footage after seizing it.
All Dash Cam users must be made aware there are no circumstances where law enforcement can order you to delete your footage, or even delete any footage themselves. They must have legal permission/consent to tamper with or delete any footage.
In summary, the only circumstance police can legally force you to hand over your Dash Cam or the footage recorded on it, is if they believe it has recorded a crime. Once seized they can only view the footage once they have attained a subpoena or search warrant.
It is important to note that Dash Cam footage can work against you, i.e. prove you were at fault. There is a correlation between having a Dash Cam and your own driving behaviours improving as a result of this. Dash Cam users must be made aware that if they record an incident that implicates themselves, this footage could be used by police against you, deleting the footage could potentially be a serious offence, so make sure you don’t tamper with it as the police may ask you for it.
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