When Oklahoma police make an arrest, the details of the incident are recorded in the police report. This document is supposed to be an objective account of the officer’s observations and interactions with you as well as details of the evidence against you; however, officers often use generic and biased language when filing their reports, especially in DUI cases.
What Should the Report Contain?
The police report should contain details of:
- The events leading up to the traffic stop
- The officer’s reasons for conducting a DUI investigation
- Your performance on any field sobriety or roadside breath tests
- The results of the chemical blood alcohol test
If you refused to submit to a chemical BAC test following your arrest, it should be reflected in the report as well.
Challenging the Report
Although these police reports cannot be admitted at trial as they are hearsay documents, they can be used to impeach the officer if he or she attempts to change testimony or if the videos show something different than what is written in the report.
For example, the officer will often state that a person was unsteady on his feet or that he properly conducted field sobriety tests when the video shows the person walking correctly or that the officer took short cuts in administering the standardized field sobriety tests.
Additionally, the report may be used as a basis for filing motions, as there are many aspects of the police report that your attorney can challenge when mounting your defense. These include the reasonable suspicion cited by the officer for initiating the traffic stop and the DUI investigation as well as the probable cause given for your arrest.
Many officers use the same generic language from one report to the next and, in some cases, simply copy and paste the text directly from one report to another. If we can show a pattern of recycling reports on the part of the arresting officer in your case, we can severely damage his or her credibility and potentially get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. This is one of the reasons that we keep a file of reports on each officer we deal with.
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