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.