Finding The Descriptions Of Crimes For Different Penal Code Sections
Police records usually refer to penal code sections in describing crimes police are investigating.
For example, section 187 of the penal code is for homicides.
How can you find out which crimes the various sections of the state penal code stand for?
The Berkeley Police Department has a list of commonly used penal code sections and which crimes they refer to. Thats at:
At the site check the box next to Penal Code. In the search box type in the number for the penal code section youre interested in .
At the search results page, click on the first listing. That should give you the penal code section youre seeking .
How To Get A Copy Of A Police Report
As we touched on above, police report is generated by the investigating officer who responds to a request for assistance at the scene of a car accident. The police report is a summary of information regarding the crashusually containing facts related to the accident and opinions of the investigating officer.
There are two ways to obtain a police report. One way will cost you money, the other probably will not. To obtain a paid copy of the police report, you need to request a copy from the local law enforcement office that drafted the report. Before leaving the scene of the crash, the investigating officer typically will hand you a receipt with the identification number for the police report. Call the traffic division of the local law enforcement agency that responded to the scene of the car accident, pay the administrative fee , and you should have no problem obtaining a copy.
If you do not have or do not know the identification number for the police report, you can provide the date, time, and location of the car accident, along with your name, to assist in locating the report.
To obtain a free copy of the police report, you can ask the insurance adjuster who is handling your claim if they requested the report, and ask for a copy.
Regardless of how you obtain the police report, it may take a few weeks for the investigating officer to complete the report, and for it to become available.
Tell The Incident Story Backward
This format is not what I would call a report. It is a statement from the writer saying what happened to them. In fact, in most cases, the crime has already occurred and the writer is telling the story backward. When asked why they write this way, many report writers will state that they dont want to make it look like they are making it up they want to emphasize where they received the information.
I have a simple startup paragraph that relieves this concern and makes it clear where the information came from:
I, , on received a call to reference to . My investigation revealed the following information.
This one short paragraph is interpreted to mean you talked to all the parties involved and examined the evidence. A report is not a statement of what the writer did . A report tells the story of what happened, based on the investigation.
Some writers are concerned about being required to testify about what the report revealed. This is not a concern. You only testify to what you did, heard or saw.
When a witness tells you what they saw, you cannot testify to those facts, only that they said it to you. Their information should be thoroughly documented in their own written statements. Each witness, victim or suspect will testify to their own part in the case. Crime scene technicians and experts will testify to the evidence and how it relates to the case.
The investigating officer that writes the report is one of those crayons.
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Where Should I Begin The Police Report
For the writer, the incident starts when they first arrive on the scene. For the victim, it is when they first realize they are the victim. For the witness, it is when they first see the action that makes them a witness. Of course, for the suspect, it is when they make that conscious decision to commit the crime. True chronological order means the order in which the events actually occurred.
Many reports begin this way:
While on patrol, I received a call to . Upon my arrival, I spoke to the victim, who said…
This format is told in the order in which the events occurred to the writer. It can work and has worked since report writing began, in simple cases with few principles, facts and evidence. In these cases, it is easy to use and can be understood fairly well.
The problems in clarity occur when there are multiple principals, a significant amount of evidence and events occurred over a longer time period of time.
You know youre having problems organizing the report when it’s unclear where or how to begin the report.
Typical Police Officers Sleep Schedule
Both day and night shifts impact your sleep schedule in different ways.
If you are on days, you may be starting at 5am, which means that depending on how long it takes for you to get ready in the morning and how far away you live, we know some who wake at 3:30 am to go to work. This calls for an early bedtime to get the recommended 7-9 hours. Especially considering you need all the sleep you can get to make it twelve hours for three or four days in a row.
On the flip side, nights impacts your sleep schedule from working against your circadian rhythm. On days that you work, you may not be jumping into bed until 8am or 9am, which means you will be sleeping until at least 4pm or 5pm to get the appropriate amount of hours.
If youre struggling with night shift, we can help. Here are some links to posts we wrote:
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How To Request Records Contained In A Major Collision File
Major Collision Bureau investigates all Motor Vehicle Collisions resulting in a fatality or serious personal injury that occur in the Region of Peel.
If you are NOTthe Involved Party to the Collision
You must provide proof of relationship to the involved party and a signed consent on behalf of the involved individual.
If the Involved Individual is Deceased
You are required to provide an authorization from the legal representative or power of attorney with supporting documents.
***Do Not Send Payment Until You Have Been Invoiced***
Please contact Martine Renwick, Information and Privacy Unit at or email at for additional assistance.
Going Through The Side Entrance
For something like Google Search history, police can also go straight to a company to gain access to your records. According to its most recent Transparency Report, Google received 12,523 criminal legal requests for user data in the U.S. in the last six months of 2015. Of those, 7,250 were subpoenas, 1,056 were court orders, and 3,716 were search warrants. Google says it honored the search warrant requests 85 percent of the time.
Google doesnt go into detail about what it handed over to investigators, but it is theoretically possible that police gained access to these targets search histories, emails, documents, and more. Furthermore, Google of course isnt the only company law enforcement can serve with a search warrant your internet service provider or email provider are also a wealth of information about your online life.
Impact On Social Life
Lets briefly touch on your general social life. Keeping up with family and friends may become slightly difficult as you work strange and long hours.
You will typically be exhausted after working a twelve hour shift and when you get home, you may find yourself just needing to chill without the social interaction.
However, make sure you communicate your situation with those closest to you so that they understand what you are going through. Youll be surprised how understanding theyll become and accommodating to scheduling catchups around when you can meet.
Be prepared to miss out on birthdays, St. Patricks Day, Cinco de Mayo or days filled with activities. But get on the front foot and asked your closest to celebrate with you on a time that works for everyone. A party isnt a party without the people you want to have there!
Why You Need A Police Report After An Accident
Police reports help document what happened during an accident, and one of their main benefits is that they are objective. That helps the insurance company or any other legal entities understand exactly what happened, in an unbiased way.
If information is needed as evidence, it holds more weight than what might be considered “hearsay” between your story and the other driver’s story.
The police report is important not just in regard to making an insurance claim, but also as evidence in a potential civil or criminal court action.
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Are Police Reports Admissible In Court
In small claims courts, litigants are usually permitted to use police reports as evidence in their car accident case. You will not be expected to know all the rules of evidence, so judges typically will allow plaintiffs and defendants to use the police report in explaining what happened.
If your car accident case goes to trial in your state’s court of general jurisdiction , you should know that parties in these cases are held to the rules of evidence and must contend with whether the police report falls within the rule against “hearsay” evidence, which keeps out many out-of-court statementsby definition, any assertion made in a police report is a statement that was made out of court.
In some jurisdictions, the police report may fall within the “public records” or “business records” exception for admissibility. In other jurisdictions, different exceptions to the hearsay rule may apply and allow you to admit some or all of the police report as evidence.
Police Report Vs Police Record
First, lets clarify something that is bound to cause some confusion: the difference between a police report and a police record. While these two items have similar names, they are in fact very different. A police report is a document filed by a police officer that essentially offers a summary of an arrest, incident, or accident. A police record, on the other hand, is usually the same as a criminal record and it includes a list and summary of an individuals history of interactions with law enforcement, including arrests and convictions.
Another point that deserves clarification is the difference between a police report and an accident report. In fact, theres not really a difference between these two items. An accident report is simply a type of police report that details the circumstances of a traffic accident. A police report, meanwhile, can include accident reports, but they cover a much broader range of incidents that may involve the police, including crimes. Note that some police departments call police reports incident reports. Remember that some accident reports may also be criminal reports, such as if the accident may have been caused by drunk driving.
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How Do I Obtain A Police Report
In most cases the public portion of police reports can be obtained from the APD Incident Report Database. Please read the Incident Report Database instructions on how to obtain the report. Make sure to enter the case number exactly how it is shown in the instructions.
For information about purchasing a copy of the public portion of a police report contact the Austin Police Department Report Sales Unit at 974-5499. Reports can be purchased at the Main Police Headquarters, located at 715 E 8th Street. Reports are 10 cents a page and only the public portion is available for purchase from the report sales office. This is the same report that can be obtained from visiting the APD Incident Report Database. Report Sales new hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Date And Location Of The Crash
Details are essential. The date should include the day, month, and year, of course, but also the specific time. It also doesn’t hurt to make note of the day of the week.
In terms of the location, be very specific. Check to make sure everything that applies is included:
The report should also describe the weather conditions at the time of the accident.
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How Do I Find Police Records
If you want to find police records quickly and easily, the fastest way to do so is to do a search on SpyFly. You can have access to some of the largest databases in the country that are filled with public information. Other ways that you could find police records are to:
- File a request with the local police department
- File a request with your county recorders office
- File a request with the state department that you live in
Sometimes you can get access to records within a couple of months, and sometimes it can take years, depending on where you are searching for them.
Collisions Investigated By Other Agencies
Police Accident Reports submitted to DMV by police departments other than the New York State Police may or may not be submitted electronically, therefore, these guidelines may not be applicable.
Motorists requesting a copy of an MV-104A submitted by a police department other than the New York State Police should follow the instructions contained in paragraph above entitled, For Collisions on all Other Roads or contact the investigating police agency directly.
Contact information for all police agencies in New York State is available online at: www.criminaljustice.ny.gov.
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When Should I Report An Accident To The Police
Even if your state law gives you a cushion of 10 days, 30 days, or something else, you should always report an accident to the police as soon as possible. In some cases, if you take longer than a certain amount of time, you may need to provide documentation proving why you weren’t able to submit it earlier.
How To Lookup A Police Report
Whether youve been involved in an accident or you have had a run-in with the law, knowing how to lookup a police report is an important skill. Police reports are public documents and the information they contain could have an impact on a wide range of things, including finding a job, applying for a loan, or pursuing an insurance claim. We are going to give a basic rundown of what a police report is, why its important, and how to lookup a police report.
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Complying With Emergency Orders
Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act , there are consequences for businesses and individuals who choose to defy the Act while emergency orders are in force. The OPP encourages everyone to voluntarily comply with all of these short-term restrictions.
If you wish to file a report regarding non-compliance under the Quarantine Act, call 1 888 310-1122 or your .
What’s In A Police Report
At the scene of the car accident, if you pay close attention you may notice the investigating officer inspecting vehicles, talking to people, measuring distances, writing notes, and taking photographs. The officer is taking some or all of these steps in preparation for drafting the police report. In short, the police report is a summary of the police officer’s investigation of the accident. The report will often contain some or all of the following information:
- approximate date, time, and location of the collision
- identifying information for parties involved in the car accident, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information
- identifying information for witnesses
- statements from the parties and witnesses
- citations and/or violations of law, and
- opinions as to cause of the collision and/or a fault determination.
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What Type Of Information And Data Is Contained In A Police Report
The following are types of data and information that may be included. Please note that there is no universal police report. Information will vary from department to department.
- Identifying information for all parties involved in the incident, including full name, address, phone number, date of birth, social security numbers, driver license numbers
- Date of the occurrence or incident
- Location of the occurrence or incident
- The officers name and ID number
- The names of other officers who were present
- Diagrams or drawings of the scene
- The names of witnesses and their statements
- Reference number
The law enforcement case file may also contain motor vehicle information, as well as specific details of the incident and any evidence associated with the case.
Examples of police reports may include but are not limited to domestic disputes, traffic accidents, thefts, fraud, assault, burglaries, and stalking incidents. Other information that may be available includes crime surveys, crime statistics, calls for service, weather information, and traffic accident surveys.