What Is A Witness Statement
A witness statement is an individuals account of the facts and events of relevant issues that occurred in a dispute. Although a witness can give their statement orally or in writing, it must eventually be put into a written document and signed by the witness in order for it to be used as proof or evidence in a case.
Depending on the situation, witness statements can be obtained by different people, such as police officers, lawyers, or a licensed private investigator. In order to obtain witness statements, several techniques may be used by private investigators, including interviews and interrogation.
Third Parties Obtaining Reports
Sometimes third parties who were not involved in the actions mentioned in police reports might want copies of them. In these instances, most states will only allow third parties to obtain copies of police reports if the matters enclosed within the reports have already been closed. However, some states may allow third parties to obtain copies of police reports even when the cases are pending. Generally, third parties must know the case number of the reports that they want and must go to the county clerks office where the police report was filed to obtain a copy of the reports. There is usually a fee for the reports to be printed as well.
The process of obtaining copies of police reports is slightly different for different groups of people. However, they typically are not difficult to obtain, no matter who wants them.
When Supplemental Reports Cannot Be Used
Police departments across the country typically dont allow the filing of supplemental police reports in any of the following circumstances:
- Evidence has yet to be collected
- The situation is still an actively dangerous one
- If the info is in relation to the location of the suspect
- If the filing is being used to report gunshots
- Vehicle theft
- Domestic violence
- Significant property loss
A supplemental police report is an important document that many police departments use in various situations. As with regular police reports its possible for a member of the public to request a copy of such a report when necessary.
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Getting A Police Report Amended
Most car accidents generate a flurry of paperwork. One very important piece of paper you will want to keep on file is your police report. A police report is an official overview of who was involved and how the accident occurred. It is crucial to have on hand in regards to your car accident case.
Police reports are completed by the officers on duty at the time of your accident. Sometimes human errors can occur. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make necessary changes. If you have been in an accident, it is important to know how to get a copy of the police report. If you have found an error in your police report, keep reading to find out how to get a police report amended.
Making A Witness Statement And Who Gets A Copy
Police may audio or video tape you when you are giving your statement. They may ask you to write down what you told them or they may write it for you.
Police will ask you to read the statement and sign it. It is important that you read the written statement and confirm it is completely accurate before you sign it because you may be asked about it as a witness in court. If you realize that you missed something after you signed the statement, provide the information to police as soon as you can. You can ask for a copy of your statement.
Some of the questions the police ask may make you feel uncomfortable. You may wonder why they are important. But things that do not seem important to you do end up helping police arrest someone.
A copy of the witness statement is usually given only to Crown and defence counsel, who can ask questions about your statement at the trial. Defence counsel will likely give a copy of the witness statement to the accused as they prepare for trial.
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Using A Witness Statement In Court
All evidence, including witness statements taken through an interview or interrogation, must be collected and preserved so that it is admissible in court. Therefore, if the statement being taken can be considered a confession, it is important that no form of threat or promise of immunity be made. In Canada, according to the Ibrahim Rule , for a statement to be admissible in court, it must be given voluntarily, meaning the witness has not been coerced, and clear of duress.
How To Obtain A Sworn Statement
Every police academy recruit is taught the importance of writing a good report. Later, the same is done during orientation and field training when hired by an agency. Unfortunately, obtaining quality statements is sometimes not equally stressed. What officers soon forget is not necessarily the importance of obtaining information but that information has different levels of importance.
Most of what a law enforcement officer reports on is considered hearsay. What is written in a sworn statement is considered evidence. Hearsay and evidence are not the something. Therefore, the importance of obtaining well written statements from victims or witnesses can’t be overstated. Let’s go over what a sworn statement is, what its purpose is, and what factors are needed to make it worthwhile in an investigation for court purposes.
Sworn Statement Defined
A sworn witness statement is simply a written statement of the evidence a person is able to render in relation to a particular circumstance he or she is somehow involved in. It is a notarized statement taken with the clear understanding that giving false testimony is considered a crime of perjury and punishable by law. Ideally the witness statement should be legible, clearly understood by anyone who might read it, and contain important information relevant to the case at hand. The information should be presented in a logical sequence.
Uses for Sworn Statements
What to Look For
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Whats The Process For Amending Disputed Facts In The Police Report
If there is information in the police report about a disputed fact you think it incorrect, this is harder to fix. However, this is not necessarily the end of getting your police report amended. Errors about disputed facts concern disagreements about conclusions or accounts that were made in the report. If you disagree with the officers conclusion in the report that you were going 10 MPH over the speed limit when the accident happened, it will be hard to get that fact changed.
Your only recourse when trying to correct a disputed fact in a police report is to write your own addendum to the police report and call attention to the information you are disputing. Provide detailed information about your version of those facts. It is at the discretion of the reporting officer as to whether or not your addendum will be added as a supplemental report.
After Signing The Witness Statement
The police may take you to the scene of the crime if they need to ask further questions. Also, if you do not know the person you saw commit the crime, you may be asked to pick out the person from a line up of people, describe what the person looked like to an artist or look through photographs .
Also, if you had any injuries, the police may take pictures so your injuries can be used as evidence later. If you do have injuries, you may wish to visit the victim of crime section.
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How Do I Contest Or Amend A Police Report Filed Against Me
Police reports are documents filed by an officer following any type of incident. Any member of the public can call a police department or visit one to file a police report. Many reports are filed following a minor car accident that involved property damage but no injuries, which means the police might not have been called to the scene. What if the report filed by the police was incorrect? Are you able to contest the report?
Why Donotpay Is The Easiest Way To File A Police Report
Losing your phone is stressful, having your property stolen is stressful, and on top of all that, getting a police report filed is also stressful, but DoNotPay knows how to navigate the process with very little effort from you. We’re equipped to communicate with the police across the country, so you know your report will be filed quickly and accurately.
Stolen phones aren’t the only police reports we can navigate for you either. Here are some of the issues we can address with the police on your behalf.
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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.
Request A Police Incident Report Copy Online
Request and receive all types of San Francisco Police Incident Reports through an online portal. Report types include traffic collisions, domestic violence and all other incidents of general crime. Using the portal is the most secure and convenient way to request and receive incident reports from the San Francisco Police Department. An account can be created within the Incident Report Request Portal to track the request and receive reports and correspondences securely online.
Traffic Collision Reports: Before attempting to obtain a copy of a collision report, please allow a minimum of five days from the date of the collision to allow the report to be reviewed and approved for release.
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Information Needed In Your Statement
When making a statement you should tell the police as much information about the offence as you can. This includes:
- descriptions or names of anyone involved or witnesses to the crime
- the registration number of any vehicles that were at the place when the crime happened, even if they were not involved the driver may have seen something
- descriptions, identifying marks or serial numbers of any stolen or damaged property
Police Department Request Form
If you cannot submit a police report request online or through the mail, then you will have to visit the police department in person and file a request there. Call beforehand since some departments only allow in-person requests on certain days. You can find your local police department here. Then you can find out about filling out a Police Department Request Form in person and how to get the information you need. Typically these police department request forms can be fulfilled that day.
A request will typically require you to provide your personal and contact information as well as details about the incident, including the type of incident, date, and who else was involved. Be aware that if the report pertains to an ongoing investigation then your request could be denied. If you are unclear about why your request was denied you should talk to an attorney.
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What Is A Sworn Statement
A sworn statement is a written statement of fact related to a legal proceeding. It is signed by the to state that all the content is true, and that they acknowledge that the penalty of perjury may follow if they do not tell the truth. It is very similar to an affidavit, but unlike an affidavit, a sworn statement is not witnessed and sealed by a public official having the power to witness an oath .
Why Police Reports Matter
Police reports are public records and in some states they may be viewable by just about anybody. Usually there are restrictions on how those records can be used, particularly by employers, landlords, and financial institutions. As already mentioned, police reports are particularly usefuland they may even be necessarywhen filing a claim with your insurer. The contents of a police report are important, so you need to make sure that any police report pertaining to you is accurate and does not cast you in an unnecessarily bad light.
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Police Reports And Car Accident Injury Claims
This written police report is usually not admissible in court, but it can be a crucial tool when it comes to determining liability for the accident and preserving key facts surrounding the crash — including contact information and statements from parties involved in the accident and anyone who may be able to help piece together what happened .
From a legal standpoint, if an insurance claim or lawsuit is filed after a car accident, the police report is one of the first pieces of documentary evidence that everyone will look at — including attorneys and insurance claims adjusters. So it’s no surprise that once a fact or an observation is entered into a police report , that information instantly carries a lot of weight. Learn more about police reports and fault for a car accident.
Information To Include In Your Witness Statement
If you decide to report the crime to the police, they will need all the details you can remember. The police will ask you questions including:
- Your name, address and contact number
- The exact time and location where the crime took place
- Names and addresses of the people involved, if you know them
- A description of each of the people who were involved in the crime – hair color and length, build/weight, height, female or male and race
- A description of what you saw
- If a vehicle was involved, the licence plate number, color and type of vehicle and any injuries
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What Is Recanting A Statement And Who Does It
If you make a statement to law enforcement then retract, withdraw, or take back that statement, you are recanting it. Anyone who has made a statement to the police, as a witness to a crime or as the victim of a crime may have a reason for wanting to withdraw that statement.
For example, you may see a robbery being committed at a local liquor store. You tell police officers what you saw. Later, you decide that you dont want to be involved in the incident because you are afraid of the person who perpetrated the crime and are worried that the person will try to get back at you. You go to the police and say that you want to recant your statement.
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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How To Give A Witness Statement
Sometimes, the police will make an audio or video tape of the interview you give. Then, after hearing what happened, the police will either ask you to write out what you have told them, or the police will write out the statement themselves. In either case, you will be asked to read through the written statement and sign it. If you later remember some relevant details or information, that information can and should be provided to the police as soon as possible.
When you are asked to complete a witness statement, you may find that some questions may be embarrassing or seem inconsequential. But remember that, in order to do their job, the police will need to know all the details of what happened. If you do not know the perpetrator, sometimes seemingly unimportant details may help the police identify the person.
Once you give your witness statement, you may request a copy of it and should review it to make sure it is accurate and complete. If you are called as a witness at the trial, you may be asked questions about this statement.