STREET LAW   101 (2nd Ed.)

DID YOU KNOW there are only 3 – 7 things you MUST do if pulled over by the police in Washington State?


  1. Show your driver’s license
  2. Show car’s registration
  3. Show proof of insurance

The following is required, but ONLY if asked by the police officer:

  1. Allow officer to see VIN #
  2. Allow officer to inspect car for mechanics and safety
  3. Get out and stand by the side of your car
  4. Peacefully go along with the arrest, and its attendant searches, if arrested. The officer will tell you you’re being arrested and read you your Miranda rights as he/she cuffs you and puts you in his back seat.

If your arrest is unlawful, your remedy is your appearance before a judgewithin 48 hrs. One can resist/use self defense against an unlawful arrest, but it’s not recommended. And you’d better be right in your assessment that’s its unlawful . . . or else. Better to go along peacefully with your arrest, talk to a lawyer (there’s a public defender on call 24/7), and tell the judge the next morning.

Once arrested, officers can pat you down and search your person. You should peacefully go along with this search-incident-to-arrest as well. Ask to have a friend come get your car if they want to tow it.

Your are NOT, however, required to:

  1. Blow roadside (although you must blow back at the police station or you’ll lose your license, that’s the “implied consent law”—meaning when you get your driver’s license, you impliedly consented to blowing when requested by police or else you agree to forfeit your license)
  2. Consent to any search (other than passenger compartment)
  3. Tell the officer where you’ve been or where you’re going
  4. Disclose if you’ve been drinking, or how much you’ve had to drink
  5. Submit to any roadside field sobriety tests

To do any of the above 5 things is to spoon feed police evidence against you. But so many drivers think they can talk or charm their way out of a DWI or other charge (after all, we’re taught it’s polite and proper to talk to people and its only natural to address someone’s questions to you) only to get arrested, but after giving over more evidence to convict themselves, rather than clamming up.

            Jeff E. Jared is an attorney in Kirkland.