ASK A COP — Do passengers at a traffic stop have to provide ID to officers?
Published 12:06 am Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Miles from Port Arthur asks: I’m in need for clarification regarding giving my information when requested by a police officer. I was in San Antonio and I was stopped by a police officer for going 57 mph in a 45 mph zone. I’ll admit the stop was justified, but what transpired afterwards has me concerned. During the stop the police officer asked me for my license, in which I complied. He also asked my two passengers for their identification. My passengers initially declined to give their identification, but the police officer seemed determined for them to give their identification information. Because they didn’t want to further cause a problem with the officer, they gave the officer their identification. Did they have to give their identification information, seeing they were passengers in my vehicle? If they refused to give the information, what could happen to them?
Answer: Good Question Miles! This is a very sticky situation to be in at times for passengers. You acknowledge the traffic stop by the police officer was lawful because of your were allegedly driving over the posted speed limit. Now the passengers in the vehicle were not suspects to a crime, only the driver. So passengers are NOT required by the Texas Penal Code 38.02 to identify nor the Texas Transportation Code 521.025(a), which refers to a driver presenting identification upon being stopped by police officers. Operators of motor vehicles are required to identify, NOT the passengers, unless the passengers are accused of violating a law in the state of Texas. Keep in mind that giving false identifying information to law enforcement officers while detained is a violation of the state of Texas. All citizens must identify themselves when they are LAWFULLY ARRESTED OR DETAINED. Your passengers decided to corporate with the officer and displayed their identification information, where in Texas they did not have to. Howbeit, most law-abiding citizens don’t have a problem identifying themselves to ANY law enforcement officers they come in contact with!
Davis from Port Arthur asks: I was recently involved in a accident and my driver and passenger air bags were activated. Am I still allowed to drive my vehicle even though my bags are hanging out of the steering wheel and passenger dashboard? It’s my only vehicle and I don’t have any other means for transportation. Like many, I need it to get to work. I only have liability insurance, so my insurance company will not repair my vehicle. According to my checking account, neither can I.
Answer: I’m sorry for your recent unfortunate crash/accident. As we all know crashes don’t only have not physical injuries, but financial burdens attached along with them. That’s why it is always a smart and responsible, LEGAL decision to have at least the state minimum liability insurance coverage on ANY automobile on the roads of Texas. Because most motorists can’t afford to fix someone’s vehicle and their own vehicle in the unfortunate event of a crash. Airbags are NOT an annually inspected item in the state of Texas, so in my opinion, YES you can operate your vehicle in the state of Texas as long as the HORN works. Insurance companies may have an issue with the airbags’ deployment, but in your case you only have liability so it probably wouldn’t matter. I’d say you’re good to go legally if your horn and all of the lights are functioning properly. I would advise you to check with your insurance agent to assure there’s no problem there.
Katleen from Port Arthur asks: At the intersection of Jimmy Johnson and Twin City Highway, is it ever legal to make a “U” turn on a red light? I have seen this happening regularly. Maybe a sign would be helpful.
Answer: Good question Katleen! AB-SO-LUTE-LY NOT! This is so wrong and dangerous, and it appears some motorists are making up their own rules. It is ILLEGAL to make a U turn on a RED LIGHT at Jimmy Johnson and Twin City Highway, and ANY other intersections in the city of Port Arthur. If you do so, you disregard or run the red light. But thanks to you Katleen, we will put a stop to this inappropriate driving behavior. I will be in contact with our supervisor and city engineers to find out what signage would be most helpful. Thanks for being part of the solution and regular reader of this column.
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