Controlling Your Passengers

 Stay calm and ask your passengers to remain quiet and calm. Should your passengers start behaving irate, remind them how quickly things can go downhill and that you need them to comply and remain silent.

What Are My Rights as a Passenger?

Generally, passengers enjoy the same rights as the driver during a traffic stop. This includes:

  • The right to be free from unreasonable or illegal searches by law enforcement
  • The right to remain silent and not answer questions by the police
  • The right to challenge the legality of the stop in court
  • The right to challenge the legality of any search after the stop in court

Frequently, drivers are considered to have knowledge or responsibility for what is in the vehicle they are operating. For example, a driver may be held responsible for any illegal substances or contraband found in the back seat by police.

Passengers, on the other hand, are usually not held to have the same knowledge or responsibility of such items unless they are the owner of the vehicle, are in arm’s reach of the item, or some other indication that the item was theirs. Depending on the type of stop and subsequent investigation, the passenger may have additional rights.

** Always be caution when adding passengers to your car.