When you’re stopped by the police in New York City, it is common knowledge that law enforcement can ask you for your license and proof of insurance. Drivers are required to have them and show them to a police officer when asked to do so. But what are your responsibilities in producing identification when you are a passenger?
The question is worth examining. According to a recent story from Utah, a man who was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by the highway patrol was arrested and charged with drug possession. The man appealed his eventual conviction, and the matter went all the way to the state’s highest court.
The court, in reversing a trial court’s ruling, found that when a passenger voluntarily provides identification after an officer asks him or her to provide it, the officer may run routine checks for warrants.
The court distinguished this from required productions, such as those in the midst of an arrest or investigation to determine who may be responsible for a crime. Nevertheless, people are “asked” to produce id in a number of circumstances, when they are not legally required to do so. For those who may not know their rights, they can be taken advantage of.
The story exemplifies the need for those charged with crimes to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to guide them through the process so that they are able to make informed decisions about their cases. If you have questions about your rights and options after a drug possession arrest, we invite you to contact us.