Seven Tips for Paralegals to Obtain Police Reports Easily

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Police officers can neglect many important details while completing crime case and arrest reports. Faced with time pressures (like wanting to get off work on time or no overtime budget in their city) or hostile or uncooperative victims, witnesses, and suspects, officers may take shortcuts to save time and energy. These shortcuts may seem innocuous at first, but they can come back to haunt the officer weeks, months, or even years later in court.

Attorneys and their paralegals face a double-edged sword when it comes to the accuracy of police reports. Clearly, all those living in a community protected by police want safer streets, less crime, and a careful, humane, and aggressive police department to look after them. Yet, personal injury attorneys and criminal defense specialists make their livings reading, interpreting, and analyzing police reports for their clients. And they aren't reading these reports because they particularly enjoy them, but because they are looking for mistakes and errors of commission or omission that will help their clients and thereby earn their fees.

Few attorneys truly enjoy attacking police reports for errors, but it comes with the territory. The nature of practicing certain types of law calls for a careful examination of these official documents because, in many cases, they offer the only description of what actually happened at an accident scene, in a crime case, or at an arrest scene. Personal injury auto accident attorneys look for mistakes relating to the officer's examination of the accident scene; his or her opinion of the primary cause; errors made about the physical evidence; incorrect witness statements; errors concerning related factors like the sobriety of the drivers, witnesses, or passengers; the position, location, and veracity of the witnesses; mistakes made in the scale diagram, etc.

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