Police and prosecutors often use surveillance video to try to show that a suspect was in a particular place at a particular time. However, evidence showing that a person was at a certain location doesn’t necessarily mean that the person committed the crime with which he or she is charged.

Depending on the facts of the case, these issues may come up in the defense of a Farmingdale man who was recently arrested in Toms River. The 31-year-old is accused of theft and burglary, and a picture from a surveillance video was used to identify a car that was apparently linked to the defendant.

Police suspect that the vehicle shown in the photo has some connection to a residential burglary. The digital time displayed on the picture is 11:30 a.m., and authorities claim that a home was broken into at some point between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Police say that, during that time, someone kicked in the door of the home.

A news report doesn’t indicate what may have been taken from the residence, and the point of view of the surveillance video was not discussed. Those issues will likely come up in court.

In criminal court proceedings, one of the first points at which a criminal defense attorney can affect the outcome of a particular case is at the preliminary hearing. At this hearing, the prosecution has a chance to present evidence that must establish probable cause in order for the case to go forward.

In the case of the accused man from Farmingdale, it may be interesting to see how largely the surveillance photo figures into the prosecution’s claims.

A defendant may also waive the right to a preliminary hearing, but one should always consult with a defense attorney before taking any such action.

Source: Toms River Patch, “Toms River Police Arrest Man Linked to Car Used in Burglary,” Daniel Nee, Feb. 4, 2014