Know Your Rights as a Passenger in a Car Stopped by Police

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Apr 02, 2019 | 0 Comments

Nearly all drivers are familiar with their obligations when stopped by police for a motor vehicle violation.  Specifically, you are required to produce identification, your license, registration and insurance.  Additionally, police may engage in behaviors which are reasonably related to the traffic violation.  

Your Obligations as a Passenger in a Vehicle Stopped by Police

In contrast to that of a driver, passengers in vehicles stopped by police may posses additional rights.  Specifically, unless police have a reasonable belief that a passenger is involved in or has been engaged in some type of criminal conduct, they may lawfully refuse to provide their identification.  Additionally, police may not prolong a traffic stop and engage in activities unrelated to the motor vehicle violation.  

The Case Law

In U.S. vs Landeros, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that passengers in a car stopped by police don't have to identify themselves, This is true even in a state with a “stop and identify” law, and even if the initial stop of the car was legal

In Landeros, the defendant was one of the passengers in a car stopped by police for speeding on a road in Arizona. The stop was legal,  as was the demand for the driver's license.  However, the investigating officer commanded Mr. Landeros to provide his identification. When Mr. Landeros refused, he was removed from the automobile and subsequently arrested. The basis for his arrest was 

A.R.S 13-2412: “It is unlawful for a person, after being advised that the person's refusal to answer is unlawful, to fail or refuse to state the person's true full name on request of a peace officer who has lawfully detained the person based on reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime.

Arizona Law provides that “[a] person shall not willfully fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of a police officer invested by law with authority to direct, control or regulate traffic

When reviewing the officer's actions, the Court specifically noted that police cannot demand that a person identify themselves without some particularized reasonable suspicion that they are engaged in criminal activity.  Moreover, the Court held that the officers could not prolong the duration of the traffic stop to engage in activities which were not related to the mission of investigating a traffic violation.

About the Author

Raymond Kimble

About Raymond Kimble Attorney Raymond Kimble has built his law practice on the philosophy that each client deserves consistent individual attention. Ray realizes that being charged with a DUI or criminal offense is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. A DUI, felony or misdemeanor arrest can involve prison or jail time, probation, huge fines and a criminal record. Consequently, people who face DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges in Arizona are placed at risk of losing employment or being barred from future job opportunities. Ray works to lessen his client's anxiety by ensuring that they have direct access to him at all times and can reach him by e-mail, cell phone or text during normal business hours as well as nights or weekends if they have a pressing question or concern. Raymond Kimble is a dedicated DUI and criminal defense lawyer who has built a reputation of working tirelessly to protect his client's constitutional rights, their future and liberty. Ray strives to provide the strongest defense possible for each client despite the obstacles they may face. Put Experience to Work for You Raymond Kimble's twenty years of experience with respect to DUI, misdemeanor and felony criminal charges extends well beyond law school where he graduated within the top ten percent of his class. Ray was a police officer for ten years prior to becoming an attorney. As a police officer, Ray was trained in both DUI and criminal investigation and his personal involvement in criminal cases while a police officer certainly gives him a unique perspective when reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses and challenging physical evidence. Ray often identifies legal issues or mistakes made by police during an investigation through his own personal experience as a patrol officer. In addition to his police experience, Raymond Kimble worked as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he was responsible for prosecuting DUI, felony and misdemeanor crimes. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ray conducted a number of jury trials and hearings related to the admissibility of evidence. Through his involvement with these cases as a prosecutor, Ray learned how to properly evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a DUI, misdemeanor or felony charge and became skilled in jury selection, argument, and the direct and cross examination of both civilian witnesses, experts and police officers. Of course, Raymond Kimble's expertise extends beyond his experience as a police officer and prosecutor. Specifically, Ray has successfully represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years throughout Maricopa County, Arizona. To best serve his Clients, Raymond remains current on changes in the law as well as police tactics by regularly attending seminars focused on defending criminal charges and reading the latest articles and books related to DUI and criminal defense. Ray also regularly writes criminal defense blogs and posts so that people faced with a criminal charge are better informed about their rights.


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