Lying on a Police Report

Lying on a Police Report

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Lying on a Police Report

A police report is one of the things the judge or jury of a trial will look at before deciding a case. The same applies to insurance companies when reviewing personal injury claims. This tells you one thing: a police report is a trusted document. 

Unfortunately, not all police reports are accurate. Some police officers lie on these reports. And when that happens, many people get prosecuted for crimes they did not commit.

If a fake report was filed against you or your loved one, you might need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. More on this shortly. 

Common Reasons Some Police Officers Lie on Their Reports

It’s difficult to understand why some police officers lie in their reports. But the list of possibilities is endless in the world of police misconduct. 

Protecting Themselves

Rogue police officers lie on their reports to protect themselves. This mostly happens when they have broken the law, usually by violating the rights of a civilian. Upon realizing they might get into trouble for their actions, they resort to lies to clear their name. 

Here’s a hypothetical example of such a situation: 

John, a Black teenager, delivers newspapers daily in a predominantly White neighborhood. One morning, a rogue police officer with a history of racially profiling civilians encounters John while delivering the newspapers. 

The officer pulls John over and attempts to arrest him without probable cause. During the arrest, the officer tells John that he has never seen such a person in the neighborhood before and that he could be a ‘pouch pirate.’ 

This could be a case of racial discrimination. But to protect himself, the office writes on his report that John punched him and threatened his life. The officer then concludes that John was being arrested for assaulting a police officer.

Favoring Other Parties

Corrupt police officers might want to favor other parties by lying on their reports. For example, an individual or company being sued for negligence might want to bribe a rogue police officer to have them write a report that favors their version of events. And since police officers are expected to tell the truth, the court will likely believe their report unless someone challenges it. 

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  • How Do You Prove That a Police Officer Lied on Their Report?

    There are different ways you may be able to prove that a police officer lied on their report. The exact process depends on the specific details of your case. 

    For instance, if you got injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence and the police report claimed that you caused the accident, you may be able to prove them wrong by obtaining witness statements. In addition, surveillance footage can also help prove your innocence. 

    It is also important to note that an inaccurate police report does not necessarily translate into a lie. In other words, police officers might unintentionally misrepresent certain facts about the case. This is because, although police officers are held to a higher standard when reporting cases, they are also human.

    Some police officers file these reports hours or even days after they occurred. Remember, a normal day in the life of a law enforcement officer could involve responding to emergency calls, tracking and apprehending suspects, questioning witnesses, etc. For this reason, they might be unable to file a report right after the incident. As a result, they might miss out on crucial details but not intentionally. 

    That said, you must be able to prove these important elements when challenging a police report based on misrepresentation or falsehood. They include:

    • The defendant in the case is a police officer
    • The defendant wrote the report while working as a police officer
    • The defendant’s intention was to lie in the report
    • The report itself contains wrong information about the subject matter
    • The officer wrote the information despite knowing that it was false
  • Can a Police Officer Legally Lie to You?

    It is one thing to lie on a police report and a totally different thing to lie when interrogating a suspect. So the short answer to this question is yes, a police officer can lie to you. However, there is a limit to the kind of lies a police officer is allowed to tell.

    On one hand, police officers cannot write a false report, especially when they know that whatever they are writing is false. For example, an officer cannot write that you got arrested for possessing illegal drugs when you didn’t have any drugs in your possession. That’s an outright lie. 

    On the other hand, an officer might be legally permitted to lie to you under certain circumstances. While there are many ways a police officer might lie to you without breaking the law, these four are the most common:

    Lying About Your Fingerprints

    A police officer might lie about having your fingerprints at the crime scene. They do this hoping you’ll confess to the crime or say something that would benefit their investigations. 

    Sometimes, officers use this lie to trick you into surrendering your DNA. Specifically, if you believe you are innocent and were never at the crime scene, you might want to offer your DNA for further forensics to prove your innocence, effectively clearing your name. 

    Lying About Eyewitnesses

    Officers can also legally lie to you about having witnesses to your case. They do this hoping you’ll confess to the crime you’re being accused of. 

    Lying About Obtaining a Search Warrant

    The police cannot lie about having a search warrant. However, they might lie about being able to acquire it within a short period. For example, when the police come knocking at your door asking you to open up, chances are they don’t have a search warrant. 

    However, despite knowing this, they might threaten you about obtaining a search warrant and forcing themselves into your property.

    Lying About Reduced Sentences

    There are certain things you need to know about how the law works. For example, a police officer might promise you a lenient sentence if you cooperate during an interrogation. This is usually a lie told to convince suspects to cooperate.

    The police have nothing to do with the kind of sentence you may get. In fact, that’s the role of a criminal defense attorney. If you get a good attorney, they might be able to get you off the hook. 

  • What Happens When a Police Officer Files a False Report?

    A false police report can ruin your life forever. The extent of damage, however, depends on the specific situation. Let’s look at two different scenarios that could possibly happen.

    Suppose you got injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence. When the police arrive, they file a false report, claiming that you were responsible for the accident. As mentioned earlier, rogue police officers can file false reports for different reasons. Some may even want to protect the interests of the other party.

    Take an example of an influential politician who is expected to win an upcoming election. Suppose such an individual causes a car accident after a night of drinking with friends. In that case, a rogue police officer might want to protect the politician’s political career by filing a false report against the other driver. In return, the politician promises to help the officer secure a lucrative job if he wins the election. 

    If you’re the victim of such an accident, you may not be able to recover the compensation you need and deserve. In addition, if you live in an at-fault state like Washington, you cannot file a claim with your own insurance company. On the other hand, if you live in a no-fault state like Florida, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurer, but it likely won’t be enough to settle your damages. 

    This could mean living the rest of your life without the medical attention you need. It could also mean not being able to work again because of your injuries. And if the accident injuries are severe, you may need a caregiver to take care of you. All these needs require money, but you won’t be able to afford it because the police officer filed a false report against you.

    Now let’s look at it from a criminal perspective. Let’s say the police filed a false report against you, and you were charged with a crime you didn’t commit. This could mean facing a fine or, worst case scenario, going to jail. If you get fined, then you’re safer than going to jail.

    Going to jail could ruin your life, career, or even relationships. If you’re a parent, you will never recover the time spent away from your child. The same applies to your career, social life, and much more. 

    Basically, a false police report could rob you of everything you’ve worked so hard for. You’ll likely fall into depression, lose your will to live and develop other complications. 

  • Can I Sue a Police Officer for Lying on a Report?

    Yes, you can. When a police officer willingly lies on a police report, they can be charged with police perjury. If found guilty, the officer could lose their job, serve jail time, or face probation, among other punishments.

    As the victim of a false police report, you may be eligible for compensation. A skilled attorney can help build a strong case for you against the rogue officer.

  • What Kind of Damages Can I Recover From Suing a Police Officer for Lying on a Report?

    Since lying on a police report is a form of misconduct, the kind of damages you may be able to recover will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. More specifically, it will depend on the impact of the false report on your life.

    Use the two cases discussed above as examples; you may be compensated for the time you spent in jail, away from your friends and family. In addition, if you had a job prior to the wrongful sentence, you may also be eligible for compensation for the financial losses incurred. On the other hand, if you were an accident victim whose claim was denied due to a false police report, you may be able to file a new claim. 

    All in all, it depends on the kind of attorney you choose to work with. An experienced personal injury lawyer will examine your case to determine whether you have a valid claim. And if you do, they will gather evidence and then fight for you in court.

    It is also important to note that an attorney can also help identify the parties responsible for your injuries. In most cases, suing the police officer directly won’t lead to desirable compensation. Instead, you want to go for the big players. For example, depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to sue the police department if they knew or should have known that the report filed by their officer was false.

    And if the officer collaborated with another party to protect their interest by filing a false report, then the other party might also be held responsible for your damages. The list of people or entities you may be able to sue will depend on the nature of your case. 

  • Where Can I Find an Attorney for a False Police Report Lawsuit?

    When a police officer lies on their report and causes you great pain and suffering, such a case falls under personal injury. Therefore, you need to work with an experienced personal injury attorney.

    It is also important to note that personal injury falls under many other categories. For example, a false police report written during an illegal arrest could require the attention of a civil rights attorney. Similarly, a wrongful arrest lawyer may be involved in such a case.

    The bottom line is that you need to work with the best attorneys in the industry if you even want to stand a chance of convincing the court that the police report is based on lies. If that’s what you’re looking for, Morgan and Morgan attorneys can help.

  • Why Morgan and Morgan?

    We are the largest personal injury law firm in the United States. With a team of over 800 personal injury attorneys specializing in different areas of law, we can assemble a strong unit to fight for you. All you need to do is contact us to schedule a free consultation with an expert. 

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