When can you be forcibly removed from your car when stopped by police?

At what point during a traffic stop will the police be able to use force in removing you from your car?
Specifically, if the cop thinks you’ve been drinking or are under the influence.
You get pulled over and then refuse to leave the car to perform the ridiculous various field sobriety stunts.

What steps need to be taken by the cops before they can use force to get you out of the car? (warrant, second squad as witness, OK from chief, etc)

And what method, at this point, will they use for extraction? (locksmith, smash a window, call OnStar, etc)

Please hurry with answers!! :smiley:

IANAC - but I would suppose they can use “any reasonable means” to extract you directly after you have clearly refused the lawful order to “step out of the car”.

Pulling you over was done after ‘probably cause’ was established -

Seconded on the ‘failure to obey a lawful order’ comment.

Follow that course of action, and it’s a safe bet that whatever gave rise to the vehicle stop just got company in the ‘additional charges filed’ column.

Whenever they say so. They have clubs, tasers, and guns, and hoards of comrads only a radio call away. A judge is the proper person hear about violations of civil rights, not a police officer.

How does one distinguish a lawful order? Seriously. Are you just expected to know? Can you ask, “Hey! Is that a lawful order?” And given the unlawful abuses that are documented, how are you to know that an affirmative response to the question is a lawful response? What if the officer is trying to be nice-sounding, and begs, “Would you please step out of the car?” That’s definitely not an affirmative; does it constitute a lawful order? I think in this context and the context of our rights these days, this is a damn good OP.

When a LEO, displaying a badge of authority, orders you to exit your vehicle, you must do so, unless physically incapable of complying with said order, at which time you must communicate your inability to said officer.

Perhaps the mods may wish to direct this to IMHO or the pit.

But, why? What specifically makes that a lawful order? I’m not being argumentative, just inquisitive. What distinguishes a lawful order from one that’s not lawful? Are there circumstances that ordering me out of my vehicle aren’t lawful? What circumstances and justification would make an officer want to order my out of my vehicle? If I’m stopped for speeding (say, 75 in a 70) with no other infraction or probable cause, is it reasonable to assume that some cop telling me to get out of my vehicle is a lawful order?

Again, no disrespect intended, but fuck the “badge of authority.” It’s got to be lawful authority, or the authority may just not be recognized. Honestly, I’m not trying to be dick, but for every 100 good cops out there, there’s the one that fucking homicides you with his illegal and unreasonable use of a taser.

Lawful orders are those upon which the issuing party is empowered to act. Officer Smith, having been sworn to duty by the State of Bohunk, shall enforce the laws and statutes of Bohunk. You, being within the confines of Bohunk, are subject to its laws, and the lawful authority of Officer Smith.

Ordering you to exit your vehicle allows the arresting officer to search your person and ascertain that you do not constitute a threat to said officer prior to placing you in custody.

You may choose not to recognize that badge of authority, but the court does. The LEO has been empowered by the legislative entity employing him or her to enforce the laws governing that entity.

Arguments re the propriety of a stop/search/whatever are best stated in a courtroom.

Okay, I see. You’re assuming that the person is under arrest. Obviously the officer believes he has cause to arrest a person, and of course it’s obvious that he therefore has lawful authority. But that’s not what I’m asking about. I’m talking about what the limits are when not being placed under arrest.

Not necessarily. Assuming the officer has probable cause to initiate the car stop, he or she may wish for their own safety to get you out of the vehicle, pat you down for concealed weapons, and briefly detain you, but not place you under arrest.

Hypothetical: A male whose description is similar to you was involved in a crime using a handgun fifteen minutes ago. The perpetrator fled the scene in a white Honda 2 door, unknown registration, direction taken unknown.

Officer Smith observes you driving by in your white Honda. He signals you to stop, and after you’ve done so, he approaches and asks you to step out. He pats you down, finds no concealed weapons, briefly interviews you regarding where you’ve been and where you’re going. Your license and registration are in order, you tell him that you are headed home from shopping at Food Lion, and the presence of 8 grocery bags in the back seat support your story. You aren’t acting nervous or uncooperative, so Officer Smith sends you on your way.

If you refuse to step out, Officer Smith now has reason to wonder why you’re being uncooperative, and knowing that someone whose description is similar to you was recently in possession of a firearm while committing a crime, he is properly concerned for his safety. Automobiles offer a multitude of places for hiding things which are beyond the field of vision for an officer standing outside. Removing you from the vehicle is necessary to ensure that you will not employ a hidden weapon against the officer, so at that point, expect to be removed by force.

That makes sense. Is it unreasonable to request an explanation prior to complying, though?

Personally, I’d comply with the request first.

But the spirit of the OP was not satisfactorily addressed.

May the officer decide that you have 10 seconds to get out of the car and then just smash your window and drag you out through the broken glass? Or is there a method of extraction that is generally followed for those who choose not to get out of the car right away?

Like, would they necessarily break a window first or try to jimmy the lock? Which window will they break? Etc.- I’m looking more for specific policy details.

A buddy of mine used to be a cop. His comment was that you asked a person once, told them once, and then used force to get them to comply.
In the case of you sitting in the car with the window up and the door locked, I would expect the officer to say, please step out of the car.
If you did not exit the car, then they would say, get out of the car NOW!
If you did not make a movement to exit the car, I would expect them to enter the car after you. If need be and I had to guess, via a night stick through the driver’s window. This would allow them to unlock the door and remove you. (dragging someone through a window would be a bitch)
It is a really bad idea to ignore an officer in such a situation.

True, but as has been observed, some folks just have to piss on the electric fence. :wink:

Policy will be dictated by SOP of the agency in question. The “sprit of the OP” is unfortunately looking for a way to avoid compliance with an officer in a legal fashion. Cops are not idiots, and are used to people trying to split hairs and play street lawyer with them. Generally speaking, there alot of good reasons to just comply and only a handful of good reasons not to, mostly involving physical inability to do so.

There are several charges with teeth like resisting arrest that do not require you to get into a physical altercation with the officer that if convicted will dramatically change the attitude of any officer who pulls you over in the future. What an officer is allowed to do and what is generally done on a day to day basis is a huge range of responses. You will find there is very little specific law with regards to this situation, for example you will not see a law saying the officer must warn you 3 times before tasering you or something like that because of the highly variable situations they face. You will see alot of guidelines, but like many emergency services, hard fast universal rules are rare.

I am a criminal defense attorney. I have also successfully represented clients in excessive force claims. If a cop told me to get out of my car pull my pants down and dance like a ballerina I would do it. The place to argue about these things is the courtroom or his commanders office. The fact of the matter is on the street you will lose. Even as a defense attorney I get tired of hearing “I know my rights!” the sad truth is most people do not know their rights. An even sadder truth is it doesn’t matter what your rights are when involved in a confrontation with cops. Its not like a Judge is going to jump out of a bush and tell the cop you are right. You can be vindicated later. Whether you’re vindicated from a hospital bed or post mortem or standing on your own feet is up to you.