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When you are arrested for driving under the influence, the arresting officer must complete what is known as a DUI incident report. In this report, the officer will notate the reason for the arrest and details from the scene of the arrest. Needless to say, an incident report is an extremely important part of any DUI case that goes to court.
A good Los Angeles DUI attorney will be able to carefully examine their client’s DUI incident report to look for inconsistencies. Any errors that your attorney can find with the report can help to discredit the testimony of the officer during the trial. Let’s learn a little bit more about how these reports are handled.
DUI Incident Reporting Process
When an officer makes a DUI arrest they are required to fill in a DUI incident report. This report is typically done the day of the arrest or close to it. This is to ensure the officer’s recollection of the events is clear in their mind. It’s more difficult to recall details months after the arrest took place. For this reason, all officers are required to fill in their reports within a timely manner.
Once the report is filled out by the arresting officer it is handed over to their supervisor. The supervisor will read the report and sign off on its legitimacy. Once the supervisor signs off on the report it is sent to the District Attorney or City Attorney. The attorney will then read the report and decide what charges if any, they will file against the driver.
How To Get Your DUI Incident Report?
Unfortunately, the arrested individual cannot typically access their DUI incident report via the law enforcement office. Usually the first time the defendant will be given a copy of the report is during their arraignment hearing. This typically comes in the form of the initial discovery packet presented to the defendant
In the event that you do file for a DMV Administrative Hearing to stop the suspension of your driver’s license, you may obtain a copy of the report. A DUI incident report is not always necessary for the DMV Administrative Hearing as sometimes the DMV Hearing Officer will solely base their case off of the arresting officer’s statement. This statement is recorded on the DS-367 Form that states the officer’s probable cause.
Ways A Lawyer Can Use An Incident Report To Help You
It’s very likely that the arrested officer has written many DUI incident reports. As they write more reports common language tends to pop up. Things such as the defendant had “slurred speech”, “an unsteady gait”, or “bloodshot watery eyes” are typical. These can come back to help your case. In addition, if there was more than one officer present, there may be supplemental reports completed by the other officers that you can use to defend your case.
The body cam or dash cam may render the officer’s report wrong. If the officer includes that the defendant had “slurred speech” but the video evidence shows the defendant speaking clearly, it can help to prove their innocence. Also, the officer’s description of the suspects driving may not match what the video footage shows. In these cases, an experienced lawyer will be able to show errors on the part of the arresting officer that can help to negate the DUI charges.
DUI incident reports are done for every arrest that an officer does. While they may not seem favorable at first for the offending party, they may turn out to help save their case in the court of law.