Tacoma, WA asked in Criminal Law, DUI / DWI and Traffic Tickets for Washington

Q: If pulled over for moving violation in WA, can officers automatically order you out of vehicle w/out lawful grounds?

I read 2018 officers pocket manual and on pg 2-22 it states- "once you have made a legal stop of a vehicle for a traffic offense, you automatically have the authority to order the occupants to stay inside or to exit the vehicle"

Is this true?

Reason I ask is I was stopped for speeding and when the officer approached I saw his eyes hit my pool cue case as I FULLY rolled down my window and he did his "intro." Immediately after that he stated the typical "I smell alcohol" (known as a go around for probable cause) and had to go thru the whole deal all because he ASSUMED I was impared due soley to spotting a cue case. After proving myself innocent (ironic), I was back on the road with a seatbelt ticket.

I voluntarily allowed him the "smell" by opening window more then 4"+-

If I hadn't and only opened the window a reasonable amount but enough he couldn't use fake probable cause. Can he still order me out anyway? Would it be lawful for my area (Seattle)?

1 Lawyer Answer
Emily Beschen
Emily Beschen
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Bellingham, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: Assuming that you were stopped lawfully, and lawfully detained at the time, law enforcement can ask you to exit the vehicle.

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