If you were recently arrested for DUI, you may be wondering about the “Police Report” that was written about the incident. What facts matter? Will any discrepancies in the facts help your case?
As DUI defense attorneys, we're in the habit of reviewing each police report multiple times so we can get a thorough picture of the incident. The factors that we look for initially are:
- The reason for the traffic stop
- Our client's responsiveness
- Performance on the field sobriety tests (if any)
- The detailed description of the officer's observations
- The client's blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
- The machines used to test the BAC
- The methods used to test the client's BAC
We also look for any inconsistencies that don't add up. We want to know if the officer left anything out, or if they failed to check the boxes. We look for innocent explanations that may explain away what the officer claims show you were DUI.
When you're charged under VC 23152(b), meaning you're charged with DUI with a BAC of .08% or greater, then the timeline of your traffic stop becomes very important. There may be clear defenses, for example, the rising blood alcohol defense, or there could be inconsistencies in your actual performance on the field sobriety tests and the officer's “objective observations.”
We weigh all of the facts and identify what would be reasonable and convincing to jurors. We also look to the report to see if the officer conducted the field sobriety tests in accordance with the regulations, or if they used other roadside tests that don't have the scientific validation of the SFSTs.
What happens frequently in traffic stop cases is the officer will report bad driving behavior or a vehicle code violation, and they make the stop. Then, the officer reports facts that bolster their opinion that the driver was “impaired” and leave out other details that would demonstrate "non-imparment."
In DUI investigations, the officer's claims are frequently overstated and that is what we're looking for. Therefore, it is wise to hire an experienced DUI defense attorney, someone who can review the reports and identify shortcomings in the evidence against you and help you win your DUI case.