Original Post: 05/14/2017
The preceding is for informational purposes only.
Being stopped by the police is not usually a pleasant experience. Even with the most benign of infractions, the encounter can be adversarial. The idea of authority can lead most people to do things that they are not required to do out of fear of being arrested or having their liberties taken.
Many people are not aware of their rights on the road. Here at Aldrich Legal Services, we often get asked are you required to show an ID as a passenger. This article will focus on your rights as a passenger, especially focusing on identification.
Background on Passengers with ID
The story of a man arrested and charged with drug possession in Utah exemplifies this problem. According to an online media report, a Utah Highway Patrol officer reportedly stopped the driver for making an illegal lane change. During the stop, the officer asked the man, who was a passenger in the vehicle, for his license so that he could check the status of the license and check for warrants.
As it turns out, an outstanding warrant was found and the man was arrested. The officer also found a glass pipe with methamphetamines, so the man was also charged with drug possession. A Utah trial court threw out the charges, reasoning that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to order the man to produce his identification.
The Utah Supreme Court reasoned that if an officer asks a passenger to voluntarily provide their identification, this would be permissible under the Fourth Amendment.
Passenger Rights in Michigan
While this reasoning may be applicable in Michigan, many people stopped by the police may not realize that they may refuse to provide identification when the police ask for it. The offer may request your identification or request to search you. You may decline the officer's requests. Unless the officer has probable cause or reasonable suspicion, they cannot force you to submit.
There are also cases of searches of passengers in Michigan that the Michigan Supreme Court ruled to be unconstitutional.
Partnering with the Michigan Criminal Defense Experts
Unexpected situations come up on the road. It can be difficult to know when your rights as a passenger or driver have been violated. If you have been charged with a crime on the road, you may benefit from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can assert constitutional defenses. Contact the legal experts at Aldrich Legal Services to discuss your case.