Written by attorney George F. Mccranie IV

DUI Cases - The Police Report is Key

If you are arrested for DUI, you will likely want to see the police version of events. You may have to wait a bit; however, as the police report won’t be available in most states until your arraignment. And upon review, you may not believe the report is referring to you.

The police report is a crucial document that details the facts of the case against you that will be used by the police – namely the officer’s account of the incident and all the evidence good or bad – and a professional review of the report by a qualified, competent and experienced criminal defense attorney can determine if fighting the charge is worthwhile.

The completed police report will typically contain a checklist for the field sobriety tests which were administered – a PBT test (a handheld device used to measure blood-alcohol concentration), a printout of the breath machine (Intox 5000) result, a lab report showing the blood or urine test results – and a written version of events from the police officer(s) at the scene.

This written narrative is sometimes a bone of contention at motion hearings and/or trial. Some police officers fail to treat each DUI as a separate event. They may “cut and paste" text from previous reports and fall into certain patterns of report writing. Descriptive terms such as glazed, fumbling, staggering, reeking, slurred, and disheveled may be peppered throughout their accounts on a routine basis whether accurate or not.

The police report will be the template of how the police officer will testify against you in court. The officer will use the report to “refresh his/her recollection," as these types of cases may seem a blur to them who have made dozens of DUI arrests since your charge. They likely won’t remember your particular incident and will “stick to the script" to prevent their testimony from being discredited.

Police officers are human. They occasionally make mistakes and can sometimes be sloppy. An experienced DUI attorney can help you safeguard your rights.

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