Question: Are Maryland police reports ever inaccurate?
Answer: Yes. Not only are police reports inaccurate, but many times police will guild the lily and they can be downright fraudulent or falsehoods. Your more, some of your more accurate DUI police officers are in court so much that they know exactly what the judges are looking for, they know exactly what to write in their reports. And they know that they always want to be talking about red glassy eyes; they know they always want to be talking about the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage. They know to write down that the defendant driver had to use the frame of his vehicle—the car door—to get out of his car and that he staggered or tripped on the way back to the police officer’s car, which many times may be a complete falsehood.
But the problem is that there’s really nobody to disprove these types of things. When the officer says it, number one, he’s supposed to be an innocent person in all this versus the defendant driver who has actually been consuming alcohol. The court will always take the police officer’s side on that one, unless there’s a videotape which disproves what these officers are saying. We’ve certainly had cases, one in particular comes to mind in Anne Arundel County years ago where the police officer was flat out lying all over the report and the video tape strongly disputed exactly what the police officer was saying, and that DUI case was dismissed prior to it being tried on that very day.
And I communicated to the police officer that it was not very wise of him to lie like that moving forward because he could lose his job over that. But unfortunately many of these police officers who are experienced in this type of work, they know exactly what to write in the report and they’ll write it in there whether it’s true or not to get their conviction. And unfortunately there’s not a whole lot that can be done about that if a defendant driver in fact has been consuming alcohol because the credence is given to the police officers over the driver in most cases.