There are many things that happen after a person has been pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but one of the critical things that must be done by the arresting officers is the documentation of all the facts leading up to the stop, the investigation into the possible intoxication of the individual, the testing that was performed, and the outcome of the administered tests and how they support an arrest on a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI). The comprehensive police report is a tool utilized by the prosecution to bring a case against the defendant, but it also can be a strong source of evidence in getting charges reduced or dismissed.
A police report typically will contain the following:
- A list of the various field sobriety tests (FSTs) that were administered and the outcome of these tests that resulted in a poor performance or “failure;”
- A copy of the results of the preliminary alcohol-screening (PAS) test or other breathalyzer tests;
- Any lab results that measured the individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) after testing of the blood or urine;
- A narrative prepared by an officer involved in the arrest – there are times when more than one officer was involved in a DWI arrest and these officers each may submit a narrative. Many times, the officers will each describe the areas of the stop and the arrest in which they were involved. There may be overlap between these recitations. In these cases, it is crucial to examine the narratives carefully in order to detect any inconsistencies between the reports.
Many people are appalled the first time that they review the report documenting their stop, testing, and subsequent arrest. It is clear from most of these documents that the officers were noting everything possible to justify the arrest, including notations relating to a strong smell of alcohol coming from the individual, bloodshot and watery eyes, spurred speech, lack of coordination, confusion, and aggressive behavior. The over-inclusion of nearly every impairment indicator possible has made many finders-of-fact skeptical about the actual reality of the situation. Once there is some doubt about the veracity of the arresting officer(s), it is possible to cast doubt on other findings.
The police report does provide a clear framework of the case that the prosecutor will present against the defendant if the matter progresses to trial. This enables an experienced defense attorney to craft a strong defense based on the unique aspects of the case. The officers are not likely to testify to anything other than what is in the report because they do not want to open the door to potential attacks on their veracity if there are any inconsistencies. By using the police report as a starting point, it is possible to build a defense based on an attack of what is in the document, which may be done by challenging the observations of the officers, attacking the quality of the lab testing, presenting witnesses who dispute the facts as presented in the report, and questioning the probable cause that the officers used to justify the stop in the first place.
Call Kans Law Firm, LLC If You Have Been Charged with DWI in Minnesota
Attorney Douglas T. Kans of the Kans Law Firm, LLC is a knowledgeable and experienced Minnesota DWI Defense Attorney who has received top ratings over the nearly two decades in which he zealously has advocated on behalf of his clients. Using all evidence available to him, including the police report and associated test results, Attorney Kans formulates a strong defense. He will advise you of your constitutional rights if you have been arrested for DWI and will vigorously fight to protect your freedom. If you have been charged with DWI in Minnesota, call (952) 835-6314 to learn how Douglas Kans will zealously advocate for you.