While ordinary police reports like traffic collision reports tend to contain mostly factual data, police arrest reports tend to rely more on the officer's observations, opinions, and his or her interpretation of the events leading up to the arrest. As such, there is obviously much more room for discussion and impeachment. True, some cases are clearly open and shut, or "slam dunks" as cops like to call them. Here, the best any defense attorney can hope for is for some fair treatment at the plea bargain conference. But many cases do offer some ambiguity. These cases demand careful scrutiny of the arrest reports so that the attorney can prepare an effective defense.
Arrest reports vary in detail and length from agency to agency. As a reviewer, you should focus your attention on the narrative since this represents the "meat and potatoes" of any arrest report.
Here's how a typical arrest report will break down into narrative sections:
This section will tell you what the client was charged with, including the specific code section and enabling code book, e.g., the Penal Code, the Vehicle Code, the Health and Safety Code, etc.
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