The Accident Report Privilege Law (ARPL) is a very important part of Florida
car-crash law, and car accident attorneys in Tampa want you to understand
how you should be using it to your benefit.
Florida law says that the things you say to a police officer about a car
crash you were in are
privileged. That means that there is nothing you can say during an accident report
that can be legally held against you in a trial. If the police tries to
bring up something that you said during your accident report, you have
grounds to object and ask that his testimony be thrown out.
The same isn't true of any tests the police do — results of breath-a-lyzer,
urine, or blood tests taken on scene area are all admissible as evidence.
And the police can bring up any statements that you make to other people
involved in the accident — those statements aren't part of your
accident report. So keep your mouth shut and don't talk to anyone
except the police.
The purpose of this law is simple: if statements you make to the police
can't be used against you in court, you have no reason to lie to them.
It helps the police make an accurate assessment of the situation and establish
the facts efficiently. It also helps the DMV collect statistical information
more accurately. The ARPL covers the vehicles driver and it's owner
(even if they weren't directly involved in the accident) as well as
anyone riding in the vehicle at the time of the accident. It also prevents
any eavesdroppers from testifying about anything they overheard you say
to the police at the scene of an accident as well.
The ARPL does
not cover statements by eyewitnesses that weren't directly involved in
the accident. So the driver of the car that was right behind the crash
but didn't hit anyone is allowed to testify at the trial. ARPL also
doesn't prevent the officers on scene from identifying you —
so you can't hide behind privilege and say "I wasn't there!"
The auto accident lawyers of Florida want you to know that it's OK
to communicate openly and honestly with the police about what happened
in a traffic accident. It helps everyone, and it doesn't hurt you
thanks to the Accident Report Privilege Law.