While you are driving in a taxi, Uber, or other rideshare and the vehicle gets pulled over, can the officer search you as the passenger or even arrest you?
The law surrounding the services of rideshares is still unclear; at this stage, no specific laws are implemented for rideshare services. With that being said, the existing traffic laws will be applied depending on the circumstances surrounding when you are a passenger in a taxi, Uber, or other rideshares and are pulled over by a police officer.
When the rideshare gets pulled over in most instances, the officer will do the routine check of the vehicle’s license and registration, as well as, the license check of the driver and whether the driver has the necessary documents to transport passengers. However, should the police officer have a reasonable suspicion that a crime may have been committed or there might be the material used or to be used in a crime, the police may search you as the passenger and any of the property that you have in your possession at the time of the search. Reasonable suspicion is based on the subjective view of the police officer and needs to be substantiated with evidence that a crime was committed.
Police can search the vehicle without a warrant when stopped at a roadblock. These roadblocks must be authorized by the Provincial or National Police Commissioner in terms of the Police Act. The police officer may seize any item that is believed to be used in the commissioning of a crime or can be used to commit a crime. For example, if the rideshare vehicle is pulled over at a roadblock and the Police officer suspects that drugs are in the car, the police officer may search your property. If drugs are found in your possession you will be arrested. The Police officer may also request the Identity documents of all the passengers in the vehicle and run them through the system, if it is found that there is an arrest warrant out for you as the passenger, you may be arrested
Should you find yourself in a situation where you as the passenger in a taxi, Uber, or rideshare are searched, arrested, or issued a summons to appear in court, do not hesitate to contact us for legal assistance.