While a DUI passenger cannot be charged with any crimes for simply being in the vehicle when someone is stopped on suspicion of DUI, this does not mean that they are off free and clear in all cases. A DUI passenger may find that the arresting officer has doubts as to who was driving the car, may request identification from the passenger and may run passenger information through the system for outstanding warrants and tickets.
DUI passengers may be requested to provide identification by the officer who stopped the vehicle. Passengers are free to refuse to provide identification however, this can lead to additional issues. Police officers who suspect that there may be illegal activity other than the DUI are free to detain passengers as well. This includes suspicion of possession of drugs (or other illegal materials).
Passengers in a vehicle where a driver is suspected of DUI who are asked to provide identification may refuse to do so. However, this may not prevent the passenger from being detained. 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 do provide identification willingly to an arresting officer will almost always have a check run on them. This means that if they have an outstanding warrant or ticket, they may also face detainment. The rules as they pertain to charging passengers in DUI are scant, and this may result in passenger arrests for probable cause.
As a passenger in a vehicle when a driver is charged with or suspected of DUI, you may refuse to provide identification to the officer. Unless the officer is accusing you of something, you are not required to carry identification. Only those who are driving are required to have ID. Passengers are strongly encouraged to inquire as to whether they are free to leave the scene and are discouraged from answering any questions that could arouse suspicion.
If you were a passenger in a vehicle and you were detained by police, you should seek immediate legal advice to protect your rights. Unless a police officer has reasonable cause to believe you were otherwise breaking the law, you cannot be charged as a DUI passenger. Protect your rights by contacting a lawyer who is familiar with DUI law. They can help you understand your rights and possibly have any charges dropped.