What Exactly Is A Police Report
A police report is a form that is completed by a law enforcement officer after an accident. They are written to document an officers investigation subsequent to a motor vehicle collision or after an arrest is made. In the context of car accident cases, the precise name of the report is a Traffic Collision Report. However, people unfamiliar with these documents, or even attorneys who dont specialize in traffic accident matters, frequently refer to them simply as police reports. Personal injury lawyers specializing in motor vehicle accident cases refer to them by their correct name, Traffic Collision Reports, in order to differentiate them from arrest reports in criminal cases. In the event of a car accident involving a criminal charge of Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, there will be a Traffic Collision Report as well as an Arrest Report.
Breath Machines At The Police Station
The results of the PAS device at the scene of your arrest are not as accurate as the breath machines at the police station that you might have blown into. Prosecutors give more weight to the breath results from the machines at the police stations. However, if the breath results from the PAS device are lower than your breath results from the machine at the police station, you can argue that your blood alcohol rose after driving and you potentially have a rising blood alcohol defense, especially if your results are near .08.
Drinking alcohol affects your Blood Alcohol Concentration .
By DUI laws in California, it is illegal for any person to operate:
- A motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
- Any vehicle requiring a commercial driver license , with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.
- A motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.01% or higher, if the person is under age 21.
- A motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.01% or higher at any age if the person is on DUI probation.
See BAC Calculator to estimate the concentration of Alcohol in your blood based on how much you have been drinking.
About Your Police Report
The Police Report usually includes the OFFICERS STATEMENT which is a special document sent to the DMV with very important information in it:
- Breath Machine print out of your breath alcohol results
- Information on your driving
Read more about Obtaining and reviewing a copy of your Police Report
Whats the difference between the breath machine I blew into at the side of the road and the breath machine I blew into at the police station?
Definition Of Driving Under The Influence
A person is considered under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, drug, or combination of alcohol and drugs when his/her physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that he/she no longer has the ability to drive a vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence, under the same or similar circumstances.
How Do I Get An Accident Report
If you want a copy of the California accident report, you have three options:
- If your insurance company knows how to obtain an incident report, ask them to provide copies to you this is the simplest way to obtain it.
- Go to any CHP office and pay a fee. There are three CHP offices in the Los Angeles metro area, for example.
- Ask the CHP to mail you a copy of the incident report.
The CHP will ask you to fill out Form CHP 190, Application for Release of Information.
You will need to include the following information on Form CHP 190:
- The date that the accident occurred,
- The location of the accident.
- The drivers name,
- The vehicle owners name,
- Your relationship to the accident as a party of interest,
- A $10 fee if the incident report is no longer than 25 pages ,
- Your signature, and
- A copy of your drivers license or other photo ID.
If you lack a photo ID, you will need a notary public to notarize your signature. Remember you will not be able to find an incident report unless the CHP investigated your accident.
You May Like: How Many Black People Were Killed By Police In 2016
Failure To Read Your Rights
Unfortunately, officers rarely read people their Miranda Rights in DUI arrests, and their failure to read you your rights does not prevent your breath or blood results from being used against you. A violation of your Miranda Rights can only result in excluding statements you made to the officer only if a Judge believes you were in custodial interrogation and you did not waive your rights. The officers failure to read you your rights will not affect your DUI case except in rare cases.
How Do I Get A Police Report
A police report is usually created by the investigating officer at the scene of the accident. It contains a summary of the crash, including any facts or opinions the officer had while investigating the scene. It does cost a fee to get the report, between $15 and $25.
The application to obtain a copy of the police report can usually be done in person, via mail, or online via the police department website, depending on the department. For instance, the Pennsylvania State Police asks you to submit an application via mail after 15 days have elapsed since the date of the crash.
Usually, the police will provide you with a crash receipt following the accident. This isnt a full report but will provide you with important information such date and location of the accident and the other partys information.
If you have any trouble obtaining your crash report, an attorney can help you get the information.
Recommended Reading: Can Police See If Your License Is Suspended
Next Steps After A Car Accident
After any kind of car accident, if you decide to make an insurance claim or file a lawsuit, the information contained in the police report can have a big effect on two key issues:
- who was at fault for the accident, and
- how much compensation you can recover .
If the police report isn’t helpful to your position, or if there are early signs that the other side is digging in for a fight, having an attorney on your side can be critical. Learn more about how a car accident attorney can help, and get tips on finding the right injury lawyer for you and your case.
How Reliable Are These Tests
Evidence of reliability
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsored research beginning in 1979 that lead to the development of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test . The tests were designed to help officers make arrest decisions at and above the 0.10 percent blood alcohol concentration .
Since then, many states, including California, have lowered their BAC limits to .08 percent and further studies have been conducted to validate the tests. See footnote for some detail. As a result, police and court officials have confidence in these tests.
Evidence of unreliability and invalidity
While police like using the tests, some critics say the tests are unreliable. Dr Sturgeon Cole, a retired professor from Clemson University, says the tests are designed to fail. He is concerned that There are no norms and there is no average score. We have no idea what an average person can do on one leg doing heel to toe. He also says that even when conducted correctly, the tests give officers an indication of intoxication which is only 26% better than chance . After studying these tests for decades, he is convinced they are neither valid nor reliable.
Whatever your opinion on the reliability of the tests, bear in mind that the 3 tests comprising the Standardized Field Sobriety Test are considered reliable by judges and are admissible as evidence in court in California.
Don’t Miss: What Does Police Reform Mean
Are There Other Ways To Get California Hwy Patrol Incident Reports
Currently, you can only obtain CHP incident reports using one of the two methods described above. However, if you do not have a way to print and complete the CHP 190 form, you can request the report via a personal letter.
The letter must contain the same information required by the CHP 190 form, including your signature and a copy of your ID .
What Is A Collision Report
What Is a Car Accident Police Report? In the context of a car accident case, a police report is a written document that is usually generated at the scene of the crash, typically by the responding law enforcement officer. The police report often contains: details of the crash and the people/vehicles/property involved.
Also Check: How To Locate A Police Officer By Name
Tips On How To Complete The Police Report Pdf Google Docs Blank Form On The Web:
By making use of SignNow’s complete solution, you’re able to perform any needed edits to Police report template blank form, make your personalized digital signature within a couple of quick actions, and streamline your workflow without the need of leaving your browser.
Create this form in 5 minutes or less
Contact Information For Chps Los Angeles Offices
If your accident happens within Los Angeles city limits, there are four offices where your report may be filed. Despite this, its possible to pick up a copy of your accident report from almost any area office in CHPs Southern Division. Here is the contact information for the four Los Angeles area offices for your convenience.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Police Clearance
Facts Versus Opinions In Police Reports
The information contained in the police report can be a fact or an opinion. For example, the date, time, and location of the collision are facts. Fault determinations are the opinions of the police officer.
Regardless of what’s included in the police report, the insurance company, through its own investigation, will come to its own conclusion as to who was at fault for the accident.
Amending Disputed Facts In The Police Report
The more difficult task is to amend a police report when you or your attorney simply don’t agree with something contained in the report — not because of a mistake of fact, but because you’d reach a different conclusion or you’d characterize something in a different way.
For instance, let’s say you disagree with the details of the accident as described by a witness or another party to the accident. In the report, Witness 2 states that Driver 1 entered the intersection while the traffic signal was still green, but you think the traffic signal was already red at the time.
It’s very difficult to amend a police report in situations like this, because Witness 2’s statement may not be technically incorrect .
Likewise, even if you disagree with the wording of a statement that the officer claims to have taken directly from you, or if you feel that your statements were mischaracterized in some way, you probably will not be able to have the actual police report changed. So what can you do? Your remedy is probably to write up your own account of the accident or your observation as to certain key details, and ask that this evidence be attached to the police report. Under most department policies, it will be within the officer’s discretion whether or not the new information is included in the existing report — in other words, you can make your case that the requested change be made, but it’s not up to you.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Training To Become A Police Officer
Traffic Collision Report: California Highway Patrol
Have you been involved in a serious car accident that was responded to by the California Highway Patrol?
If so, we recommend that you request a copy of your traffic collision report.
In addition to staggeringly high medical bills, car accident victims are forced to deal with lost wages and property damage sustained from the crash.
But there is a way out.
The police accident report has vital information that will support your case and help you obtain the highest compensation for your suffering.
In this article, our experienced California auto accident lawyers explain the different ways you can obtain a copy of your California Highway Patrol accident report.
How To Obtain A Traffic Collision Report From The California Highway Patrol
Only parties of interest can request a collision report from the California Highway Patrol . Parties of interest eligible to request a report are drivers, passengers, property owners, vehicle owners, and parents or legal guardians of minors.
Individuals seeking to request a report must fill out and submit the CHP 190 Collision Request Form. This form is available online and in person at CHP Area offices. Once you have the CHP 190 form, you will need to provide the following information:
- Collision or incident dateexact date or approximate date is acceptable.
- Collision or incident locationexact location or approximate location is acceptable.
- Driver or owner nameif property was damaged, you will need to provide your address.
- Party of interestcheck the box that applies to you.
After providing the information listed above, print your name in the appropriate box and provide your address. If you are filling the request form in representation of a governmental entity or insurance company you will need to identify the agency or company name in the assigned space.
quest, provide your signature and submit the applicable fees. To find the fee that applies to your request, you will need to contact a CHP officeas fees are based on page count. The fees are reproduced below for your convenience:
- $10.00 for 01 25 pages
- $20.00 for 26 50 pages
- $30.00 for 51 75 pages
- $40.00 for 76 100 pages
- $10.00 for anything over 100 pages in increments of 25 pages
Recommended Reading: How To Be A Police Officer In Ct
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.
How To Obtain A Police Report
This article was co-authored by Saul Jaeger, MS. Saul Jaeger is a Police Officer and Captain of the Mountain View, California Police Department . Saul has over 17 years of experience as a patrol officer, field training officer, traffic officer, detective, hostage negotiator, and as the traffic units sergeant and Public Information Officer for the MVPD. At the MVPD, in addition to commanding the Field Operations Division, Saul has also led the Communications Center and the Crisis Negotiation Team. He earned an MS in Emergency Services Management from the California State University, Long Beach in 2008 and a BS in Administration of Justice from the University of Phoenix in 2006. He also earned a Corporate Innovation LEAD Certificate from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 2018. This article has been viewed 633,376 times.
A police report is a document police officers create after an arrest, accident, or investigation. It explains what happened, details evidence, and provides witness statements and other details. Because these reports are often used in court appearances, settlements, and insurance investigations, having a copy might be very useful for you. Whether they ask you to submit your request in person, via mail, or online, all police departments will provide you with a copy of your police report.
Don’t Miss: How To Get A Police Background Check On Yourself
Is A Police Report Necessary Even If No One Was Hurt
Lets say you did have an accident but there were no injuries involved. So does that mean getting the police report is really necessary?
The answer to this question is still yes. The police report will provide you with all the information you need to strengthen your accident claim. If your insurance company is fighting your claim and considers you at fault for the accident, this is where a report from an impartial witness will come in handy.