Proper Passenger Etiquette on a DUI stop

Yesterday morning a 45-year-old Seattle woman gave Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies and Bainbridge Island police officers an earful early Tuesday after her boyfriend was arrested for DUI.  According to the Kitsap Sun, at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, the officers pulled over the driver of a van because they recognized him and knew his driver’s license was suspended. The stop led to the man’s arrest for DUI. Officers soon discovered that a woman was in the back of the vehicle when she “screaming at the top of her lungs” and kicking her legs in the air.  Not wearing pants or shoes and believed to be highly intoxicated, the woman “continued this screaming of vulgar insults non stop,” officers said.
The woman was seated on a curb but soon began running for the patrol car in which her boyfriend was seated. Officers took her to the ground and placed her under arrest. Deputies had to use leg restraints on the ride to jail, in which she continued her tirade using “colorful terms” and made threats. She had also urinated on at least two officers before being booked into jail on suspicion of obstructing a law enforcement officer, the documents said.

While most of us know that urinating on officers will get you no where, it does raise the question, how should one behave if they are a passenger that is getting pulled over? Officers will likely request passengers to provide identification but passengers are free to refuse to provide identification however, this can lead to additional problems. If the police officer has reasonable suspicion that there may be drugs, weapons or other contraband in the vehicle, the passenger may also be arrested and detained. Passengers who choose to provide identification willingly to an arresting officer will likely have their names run in the system for warrants or outstanding tickets.

The best thing for a passenger to do is keep quiet and at the soonest possible time ask the officer if they are free to leave.  If the passenger is unfortunate enough to have an independent  reason to be arrested they at least are afforded the same rights to challenge the basis of the stop as the driver is afforded.  So, things might turn out okay for our Ms. Urinating Seattle woman because the basis of the stops seems suspect.