When will I get the report?
Many people put in requests for their police reports and expect them within a few days of their arrest. Even though they are YOUR reports, it is unrealistic for the officer and the PD to get them out to you that quickly. You will most likely not get any reports until your first court date when you have your arraignment. Unfortunately, this is often several weeks and sometimes up to two months after your arrest.
How should I read the report?
Depending on the police department, the report may be split into sections and that is a great way to comb though it. If it is not in this format already, you should consider taking notes and trying to split it into different segments to make it easier to read and follow. Each case is obviously different, but this is generally the easiest way to digest the report:
What was the reason for contact with police? Was it a crash, or maybe a stop for speed? Was the reason for the stop because of bad operation, or maybe someone called into the police that you were all over the road. This could be the first evidence in the case used to try to show you were impaired while driving. This is also a critical step because if the stop was done illegally, then your case could be thrown out. The police can not just pull you over because they don’t like the way you look or because they have nothing better to do. They need a legal justification to make contact.
First Contact with the Police:
When the police first came up to the window, what did they observe? What was the conversation about? Are they claiming that there was an odor of alcohol, or slurred speech? This step is so important for a few reasons. The first is for you to learn what observations the police thought were because you were impaired. You may have a totally justifiable reason that has nothing to do with impairment. If you just worked a 12 hour shift, where you were on your feet the whole time and are driving home to immediate go to bed, that could absolutely be the cause for your eyes to be red and bloodshot.
Also, this step is key because if the police had you get out of the vehicle to do roadside testing, they need enough evidence of impairment to justify making you do these tests. If there wasn’t enough evidence, your case could be thrown out.
The Roadside Testing:
Assuming you were asked to do field sobriety testing, which tests did you do? The standard tests are an eye test (HGN), walk and turn test, and one leg stand. How did the officer say you did and do you agree? Is there a reason for poor performance such as an injury? Were there any other tests done like a counting backwards test or an alphabet test? Were these additional tests reliable or even fair to do?
It is typical that after this point arrest is made. Was it done legally? Was there enough evidence to arrest you? Once again, this is a chance to have your case thrown out.
After Arrest and Breath Testing:
Was there any more evidence the police are claiming after arrest? Was there anything noteworthy on the ride to the police department? How long did you wait before taking a breath test? Did you refuse a test and why? Was there a blood test instead? All these things are very important to your case and you need to pay attention to what is written in that report.
Often these cases are much more complicated than you may think. You shouldn’t go at it alone. Our lawyers have participated in advanced training in the areas of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, breath test machines, defending Operating Under the Influence of Drugs & Medications, and know how to challenge Drug Recognition Experts. Webb Law Firm does not charge for a consultation and would be happy to go over your case with you to help you figure out what your best options are moving forward. Our office is open 24/7 and can be reached at 207-283-6400 to set up a time to speak with an attorney at no cost.