Can a non-involved person obtain a criminal police report about someone else? Or can atty tell me what happened?

A family member was arrested & his story of what happened doesn't match up w/ the initial charges at all. He plead no contest to 2 of 5 charges & made a deal & is now serving jail time. He has a history of lying even about unimportant things. The rest of the family would like to know what happened. Can I order a copy of the police report? Unfortunately we do not know where it happened except to say all proceedings were in San Francisco. Nor do we know the exact date of arrest, which department/precinct or police report number. Even if I had this info, would they even send it to me since I am not an involved party? Would it be inappropriate to ask the PD or DA to send us a copy of the initial police report or directly tell me basics of what happened?

San Francisco, CA -

Attorney Answers (3)

Charles K. Kenyon Jr.

Charles K. Kenyon Jr.

Criminal Defense Attorney - Madison, WI

I am not surprised that the PD did not return your call. He/she is not your lawyer and would not be serving the client by talking with you. The prosecutor may be willing to tell you where you can get a copy of the police report. If you go to the court where he was convicted, you should be able to get a copy of the criminal complaint. A "probable cause" portion of that complaint will usually contain information about what the police thought happened and tell you which jurisdiction was involved.

If any answer on AVVO helps you, mine or someone else’s, please mark it as "helpful" or "best answer" to help AVVO know which answers to show others.

Thank you.

--- Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin

--- Facebook Page

--- Talking to the Police - Advice from Lawyers and Police

--- Miranda Rights (and Wrongs)


Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum.

I am an experienced Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer practicing in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the Internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you.

If something I say disagrees with what your own lawyer is telling you, you should rely on your lawyer who is familiar with you, your entire case, the local courts and practices.

Most questions are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Few, if any, legal matters should be handled via Internet communication. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services.

This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only.

Click on the “more” link below for more important information about the answer and AVVO.

Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. Click on the "More..." link for... more
Chris J Feasel

Chris J Feasel

Criminal Defense Attorney

No you cannot order a copy of the report - you are a "non involved" party, so you don't get one. The PD is not going to talk to you yet if the case hasn't gone to court. Hire an attorney, who can get a copy of the report, and perhaps he/she will speak to you about the case (but most certainly can't give you a copy of the report).

Mr. Feasel is a former prosecutor in San Mateo County (CA) with over 10 years of criminal law experience. Nothing... more
William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Criminal Defense Attorney - Wexford, PA

I agree with Attorney Kenyon's very able response to your question. As neither he nor I are licensed in CA, see what local counsel advise on this issue.

Related Advice

Questions? An attorney can help.

Ask a Question
Free & anonymous.
Find a Lawyer
Free. No commitment.