When a person has been arrested on suspicion of violating a section of the California Penal Code or the California Vehicle Code, police officers that arrested the person will be required to prepare a report on their observations. The report will contain all details of the arrest, starting with when the person was first approached by officers and ending at when they were taken into custody.
Let’s consider an example. Dan is weaving in and out of his lane, and is pulled over by officers on suspicion of a DUI. He is then pulled over and asked by officers if he had been drinking. Dan replies that he had a beer, and officers ask him to step out of the vehicle and ask him to complete some field sobriety tests while they observe his behavior for 15 minutes. After being fairly confident that Dan was intoxicated beyond the limit indicated by the relevant code section, they arrest him and take him into custody.
The officers will note in a report their observations of Dan’s driving that led them to pull him over. Additionally, they will note any statements that Dan made regarding the fact that he had one beer. This is generally why it is advisable to state that you would like to not make any statements, especially those that may incriminate you. These statements will be included in the officer’s report which will be entered as evidence during your case. They are admissible in Court, and therefore, the best way to avoid strengthening the government’s case against you, it is best to refrain from making any statements during your arrest.
Officers are sworn employees of the government. They are expected to uphold the law and make the right ethical decisions regarding arrests. They are additionally given strict procedures to follow and are required to comply at all times with these guidelines. Because they are assumed to operate along these high standards, their words are considered as truth, especially when found in a police report.
When the criminal Judge hears your criminal case, the evidence against you will the word of the officers who did the arrest, and your own statements and observations of the evening. This is often a problem and weakens your case because the Court sees you as someone who was intoxicated, whereas the officers were not. Therefore, the police report will be given lots of credibility and will be weighted heavily against any contradictory statements you make.
Nevertheless, the job of a Southern California Criminal Defense Lawyer is the prepare a powerful argument and a strong defense in your favor that casts doubt on the words of the officers. This is completed by finding statements that contradict the officer with their own words or actions, reputations or otherwise. If the Judge feels that something about the officer’s statements seems like standard language, or contradicts itself, the police report won’t be weighed as heavily.
A professional criminal expert has dealt with officers and police reports for years and handled thousands of cases in which the testimony must be weakened. Be sure to consul an expert so that your case has the best possible chances of being reduced or dismissed!