Passengers do not need to hand over their identification during traffic stops, the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals on Friday. Non-drivers only need to show their papers if police have a specific reason to believe they are involved in a crime.
The appellate court reversed its previous rulings on the matter after considering the circumstances of a traffic stop that took place in Arizona on February 9, 2016. That morning, tribal police officer Clinton Baker stopped a car traveling near the Pascua Yaqui Indian reservation for allegedly exceeding the speed limit by 11 MPH. The driver handed over his driver’s license.
The officer then said he smelled alcohol and believed the two women in the backseat might be under 18, in violation of underage drinking laws and the reservation curfew. They were not — one was 21, the other 19. The front seat passenger, Alfredo Enos Landeros, was 23 and did not look underage, but the officer demanded his identification anyway. Landeros refused. He was ordered out of the car and arrested for failure to identify himself and for an open beer can the officer saw on the floor of the car.