The importance of a DWI police report can be the difference between freedom and conviction. 

Especially if this is your first DWI in Texas, you’re going to want to take some notes. When you get pulled over for being suspected of drinking and driving, the arresting officer must fill out a form or multiple forms about the details of the incident. 

This report is the first documentation of what (allegedly) happened during your interaction with law enforcement. The information listed –– or what’s missing –– can build the story around what really happened when you were pulled over. Hint, policemen make mistakes. 

Because DWI reports are key pieces of developmental evidence in your case, Thiessen Law Firm’s top DWI defense attorney Mark Thiessen is here to explain what is in a DWI police report and how you can use it in your case’s defense strategy.

DWI police report: What’s in it?

If you’ve ever had to fill out a Houston auto accident report, some of these questions may look familiar to you. Here is the type of information you’ll find on a DWI police report:

  • Who
    • Who was pulled over (in this case, you)
    • Names of the officer(s) at the scene 
      • What type of law enforcement officer are they?
    • Names and information of any witnesses
  • What 
    • What were you doing at the time you were pulled over?
      • Were you swerving or visibly out of control of the vehicle?
      • Were you sleeping in the back of the car? 
    • This can include observations about your appearance, behavior, speech, etc. Basically, are you acting in a way that would give an arresting officer suspicion that you are driving while intoxicated?
  • When/where
    • When and where you were pulled over
      • Was there anything unusual about the traffic stop?
      • What were the road or weather conditions like at the time of the stop?
      • Was there an accident that occurred?
      • Was someone hurt?
    • If any backup officers were called, when did they arrive at the scene?
  • Why 
    • Why were you arrested?
    • What alerted the police to pull you over?
  • How
    • How did you react when asked to participate in field sobriety tests?
    • Did you fail or pass those tests?
    • Who administered those tests? 
    • What breath or blood tests were performed?
      • The officer should also list the equipment that was used to administer the test(s).

How to use a DWI police report to your advantage 

A good question to ask is how can a DWI police report help you in your case? The information, or lack of information, in the DWI report can be used in your DWI attorney’s defense strategy. Your attorney can request a copy of the police report at your hearing and will examine it closely for any mistakes or misinformation. 

Inconsistencies in police report: What you’re looking for

Missing information

Police reports will have specific questions and boxes to help the officer log information about the incident as well as blank spaces for any additional notes. While some attorneys see limited information as a way for the prosecutor to speculate, aggressive attorneys like Mark Thiessen know that this is an opportunity to find literal holes in the cop’s recollection of the events. 

In these cases, an officer has to stick to their story and recall the events from memory. If your attorney can lock them into their tale and point out any inconsistencies or errors later on, this can discredit the officer’s statements and their case against you. 

Incorrect statements 

Sometimes the information in a police report can end up looking like two sides of a story. You’re looking for blatantly incorrect information, misleading observations the officer made, or data points that don’t match up with your story. 

For example, the arresting officer wrote in their DWI police report that you failed the administered field sobriety tests but failed to mention that you have a medical condition that affects your ability to cooperate with certain tests. Maybe the officer wrote that you had visibly bloodshot eyes, but you attributed that to simply being tired and rubbing your eyes. These contrary statements can be used in your favor to prove that the officer lacked sufficient evidence or knowledge to arrest you. 

DWI defense strategies

Using the information in a DWI report, here are some common DWI defense strategies an attorney can use to help your case:

  • Lack of probable cause: The arresting officer stopped you on reasonable suspicion for driving while intoxicated, but lacked probable cause to arrest you. This is an example of rights police don’t want you to know –– in order to arrest you for a DWI, the officer has to have sufficient evidence to support their claim that you were drinking and driving. If they arrested you purely on suspicion, the charge can be dropped.
  • Faulty sobriety tests: Something important to note, field sobriety tests are designed for you to fail. Field sobriety test accuracy has been a huge concern in the legal community for years. If you can prove that the field sobriety tests were improperly administered or done with faulty equipment, this can give you a huge advantage. For example, a common field sobriety test known as the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test is often administered incorrectly by law enforcement. Knowing this information can help prove that your arrest was determined on insufficient evidence.

    For more information on other types of field sobriety tests, check out our article Can you decline a field sobriety test?

Remember, the definition of intoxication is not having the normal use of your mental or physical faculties, or having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. If any of those variables are not present at the time of your arrest, you may have been wrongly accused. 

Contact Thiessen Law Firm for a “Not Guilty” DWI Verdict

An experienced attorney will be able to show you how to use a  DWI police report in favor of your case. That experienced attorney is Mark Thiessen. Mark Thiessen from Thiessen Law Firm is Triple Board Certified in DWI Defense Law, meaning he has the knowledge and experience to get you a “not guilty” verdict –– just like he has for 100+ clients like you. 

Give Mark Thiessen a call today at 713-864-9000 or fill out our online contact form to get started.

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Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.