Police reports are not public record in North Carolina. Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 132-1.4, any records of law enforcement investigations do not have to be released to the public.
If you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina, you do have a right to see the police report. The State must turn over all exculpatory evidence — evidence that could prove you to be not-guilty — to the defense. Even if the State believes the report proves you are guilty, your attorney may be able to find missteps by law enforcement officers that could ultimately result in a case dismissal.
Your attorney will either receive a copy of the police report when it becomes available or will ask for it from the officer on your court date. If you do not have an attorney, you still have a right to the report if one exists. Please note reports generally do not exist for minor traffic offenses such as speeding, unsafe movement, and driving while license revoked. For these types of offenses, the officer will often list details directly on the citation.
Those who are not a party to a criminal case (i.e. the State of North Carolina or the defendant) do not have a right to a police report. In order to obtain a full report, a person usually must obtain a subpoena signed by a judge and present it to the law enforcement agency. The person cannot simply just appear and ask for the report; he or she must have a valid reason. Without a subpoena, the police will likely only provide the first page of the report, which generally contains a quick summary of what occurred.
If you have a case pending in Wake or Durham County, contact criminal defense attorneys Paige Feldmann and Shane Davidson for more information about how we can help with your case. We can be reached at (919) 832-0500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.