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RookieD
12-14-2005, 07:16 PM
Diplomat Question

Here is a scenario that was very interesting, what would you do?

Scenario: You have just pulled over a vehicle for suspected DUI. You tailed the vehicle for about half a mile and the vehicle was swerving and crossing over the center divider. You notice the plates are foreign. It turns out to be a foreign diplomat. You can smell alcohol on her/him, and they are refusing to get out of the vehicle.

What would you do?

Additional Resource on immunities: http://www.state.gov/m/ds/immunities/c9127.htm

My Opinion: *Keep in mind I have no law enforcement background (yet). I would ask him/or her to step out of the vehicle. If he/ or she refused, I would inform him/or her that I would like him/or her to step out of the car, so I can talk with him/her. If he/ or she refused, I would ask him/or her if there was anything, I could do to get him/or her to step out of the vehicle. If refused, I would pull him/or her out of the vehicle and cuff them, tow their vehicle, and take him/ or her downtown to spend the night because he/ or she is a danger to public safety.

Would this be reasonable?

jnhdrac
12-14-2005, 07:35 PM
I do not know for certain, but my opinion is you probably can prevent him from driving but not book him into a jail or charge him with a crime. The best bet would be keep him at the scene, assuming he was blistered, and call for another member of the diplomatic staff to come get him. I would avoid transporting him to another location if at all possible. I would also avoid physically snatching him unless you could cleary articulate a danger to him or the public. Merely sitting in the car refusing to get out will probably not meet this requirement.

chineseservant
12-14-2005, 08:20 PM
Best to get him out of the car, but no arrest, and do not transport him. You can issue citation to the diplomat but he does not have to stay there while you write the paper, so you have to send it in mail. ;)

SgtScott31
12-14-2005, 09:45 PM
Best to get him out of the car, but no arrest, and do not transport him. You can issue citation to the diplomat but he does not have to stay there while you write the paper, so you have to send it in mail. ;)

He doesn't have to stay while you write a citation? Are you kidding me?

Leave the Ask-a-cop section to actual cops please.

He can easily be detained, because as stated in the scenario, he is a danger to himself, and more importantly, to other people as he is driving drunk on our roads. Let me make this perfectly clear, diplomat or not, HE IS NOT GOING TO CONTROL MY TRAFFIC STOP.

He is a danger to the public as long as he is behind the wheel, so he is coming out of it, voluntarily or not.

I may not arrest him for DUI depending on the statute (as I have not reviewed it lately), but he can definitely be detained until he is no longer a threat. If he feels like resisting, then it is going to be his fault for eating pavement.

51094
12-14-2005, 09:55 PM
I just received an email at work about this the other day. We arrest and detain the same as any other sh*trat who decides to to drink and drive. Leave it to the politicians to decide what to do. I have a job to do, and it doesn't involve playing foreign affairs minister.

If buddy doesn't want to get out of the vehicle then I hope his foreign health insurance is paid up because he's coming out one way or another.

Drunkcop
12-14-2005, 11:39 PM
I just received an email at work about this the other day. We arrest and detain the same as any other sh*trat who decides to to drink and drive. Leave it to the politicians to decide what to do. I have a job to do, and it doesn't involve playing foreign affairs minister.

If buddy doesn't want to get out of the vehicle then I hope his foreign health insurance is paid up because he's coming out one way or another.


I was always under the impression that Diplomatic Immunity was from prosecution, not arrest. It's only happened once to me, and I never heard anything from upstairs about it. He was drunk, he went to jail...

SlowDownThere
12-14-2005, 11:40 PM
Diplomats are issued diplomatic license plates by the US State department. They don't drive around with foreign plates. And, not everyone who drives, or rides in that car, is entitled to diplomatic immunity. There are drivers, family members, employees, etc that do not get immunity at all. And there several different levels of diplomatic immunity.

1) Yes you can stop the car and issue tickets.

2) You definately can prevent any intoxicated driver from driving.

3) whether or not you can take him into custody depends on his level of immunity. The State Department will clear that up for you (24/7) with a phone call.

SlowDownThere
12-15-2005, 02:32 AM
You've asked some good questions in here RookieD.

First the question about the ticket assasin, now this one about immunity.

It's nice to see a Rookie ask reasonable questions rather than pretend like they know everything. I mean "Rookie" in the most endearing way, of course.

RookieD
12-15-2005, 03:19 AM
With my luck, when I become a LEO I will probally run into something like this. The reason why I post these types of issues, is to see how each LEO would react in the situation. Nothing like watching how the pros handle it. I think I have gained a lot of knowledge by everyones' educated responses.

t150vsuptpr
12-15-2005, 01:20 PM
Also, as I understand it and as I have practiced it, it is up to him/her to first "declare diplomatic immunity", then I can get dispatch to check with the state department easy enough to confirm.

DUI??? You have to take him out of the car, you have a duty for his safety as well as that of the general public. He may spend the night in a private suite at the local lockup, the worst that happens is he isn't prosecuted, but he isn't spending the night with me in my car, and he isn't going to drive away once I find he's DUI. I have seen several have their status removed and in two cases, it was for prior offenses elsewhere and we actually got a letter from the state dept. advising us that we could indeed, go forth with prosecution.

Simple speeding, signal violation, etc .... I'ld say let him go with or without a ticket as you desire. Issuing a ticket does make a paper trail of his behaiviour though, but understand that you cannot arrest him for failing to sign it if you know he / she enjoys diplomatic immunity, just note refusal in signature block and let go, and don't get upset when the judge dismisses it.

Where he commits a breach of the peace or is a hazard due to his condition when found, you can't just "let him go".

The whole thing is set in place because we too have our diplomats on station all over the world in embassys, and we want them to be able to do their thing without interfearence or harassment from police, so we extend this courtesy in exchange for the courtesy in those other lands towards our diplomats. We have to be able to operate in a global environment, there are lives at stake in lands far away. Once you uinderstand the reason for it, the easier it is to accept.

:)

grumpyirishman
12-15-2005, 02:28 PM
Being in the DC area, these guys are everywhere. Just because the car has tags issued from the State Department doesn't mean he's a diplomat. Most staff run tags and driver's licenses issued from State. First check his papers. Usually only senior diplomats have full immunity. You can impound the car. It doesn't have immunity. The best thing to do is call the embassy or chancery and advise them of the situation. They will send a car to pick him up. You cannot arrest, but you can detain on the scene or at the station. You cannot book him, and should not place him in a cell. You definitely should contact the state department and send them a copy of the report, and a copy of a summon you would have issued to him. He will get more grief from his own people and pressure from State.
I remind you that we treat those with immunity this way, so that foreign governments treat our diplomats well. :)

t150vsuptpr
12-15-2005, 07:00 PM
Being in the DC area, these guys are everywhere. Just because the car has tags issued from the State Department doesn't mean he's a diplomat. Most staff run tags and driver's licenses issued from State. First check his papers. Usually only senior diplomats have full immunity. You can impound the car. It doesn't have immunity. The best thing to do is call the embassy or chancery and advise them of the situation. They will send a car to pick him up. You cannot arrest, but you can detain on the scene or at the station. You cannot book him, and should not place him in a cell. You definitely should contact the state department and send them a copy of the report, and a copy of a summon you would have issued to him. He will get more grief from his own people and pressure from State.
I remind you that we treat those with immunity this way, so that foreign governments treat our diplomats well. :)

That's all great if you are in the DC area.

I used to be, but no longer. They will take hours to get here where I am at now. Of course, I used to encounter more of them in a month up there :rolleyes: than I have encountered in 25 years down here. ;)

It's not a cell, it's a private room, it's all I got.

:D

51094
12-15-2005, 07:19 PM
I was always under the impression that Diplomatic Immunity was from prosecution, not arrest. It's only happened once to me, and I never heard anything from upstairs about it. He was drunk, he went to jail...
That's basically what I was trying to say. I should probably utilise the "preview post" button more often.

sureshot015
12-15-2005, 07:57 PM
There are many diffrent forms of diplomatic immunity in regards to the exact terms. Many will allow an officer not to permit the person to DUI. However you will likely not be able to arrest them for the offense---but like I said there are diffrent conditions for immunity. Officer safety is #1 followed by contacting dispatch to get the proper info from the subjects embassy.

AnGardaSiochana
12-15-2005, 11:55 PM
I remind you that we treat those with immunity this way, so that foreign governments treat our diplomats well. :)

May I say that is a crock of ****, you dont arrest diplomats that break the law so American diplomats can break the law in my country? No one told me and I for one would have no hesitation in arresting your diplomat. But then again I enjoy freedom from government which means no government power can be put on me to act or not act.

Having said all that he wont be prosecuted but he will be returning to the station and if anyone wants to start about diplomatic incidents then lets remember who started it. Me arresting a drunk driver or the diplomat for driving while drunk?

Now, if we look deeper the immunity is weakened depending on what nation you are in, for example. The US courts claimed that the major reason for immunity was too protect a diplomat from questionable justice systems and allow them too operate as if within their own but this is hard to press when dealing with europe which is very similar to the US justice systems and vice - versa.

Funnily enough There has been 2 US diplomats involved in incidents (one drink driving) while on foreign soil. The drink driver was not arrested despite hitting a person and the US refused to waive its protection. The second was in fact arrested in London but later released and again the immunity was not waived but on this occasion it was a diplomats husband (not even the diplomat herself) and it being within England. England being a close ally to the US and having a very similar justice system. There has been 2 diplomats involved in an incident while on US soil, one was again a drunk driver that caused injuries and damage to multiple people and vehicles, again not arrested initially but funnily enough the US prosecuted after enough duress was exerted on the foreign government to have the immunity waived. In the second incident it was a paedophile from the UAE and he was arrested during a sting but later relased without charge and never faced trial.

t150vsuptpr
12-16-2005, 12:13 PM
Not everyone who claims it really enjoys it, some have had their status removed because of bad behaiviour at which point the country sometimes withdraws them, sometimes admonishes them, sometimes waives immunity and let's them take their lumps. I too have arrested them, and the state department sometimes came and got them (at local lockup facility, I aint no babysitter, I got other wrecks to work and other tickets to write), and thanked me a few times for getting them off the road. As I stated earlier, I used to get them all the time when in Northern Va. (now it's very rare).

The minor traffic violations, they more often never mentioned diplomatic immunity but just signed and went on their way and a letter from state department showed up in court. Immunity is not necessarily inferred from a tag, it is to be declared as I understand it. When they did so declare it, and it was minor enough and not a breach of the peace, I just kicked them. Reckless driving and DUI are not minor infractions, they are breaches of the peace.

There was a son of a diplomat once who went through here at very high rates of speed regularly for a couple of years, and he enjoyed diplomatic immunity. We charged him several times, after the first two instances in my county were dismissed, a LEO in a county south of here caught him at 100+, it too was dismissed, and suddenly a newspaperman got the story. His immunity was then withdrawn by the state department, his tags were changed on his BMW to non-diplomat tags, and he soon had his priveledges suspended (yeah, he got more tickets but had no immunity now) and his daddy's embassy then assigned him a driver for the remainder of the school year. I am several hours from DC, the school he traveled to another hour from here, he traveled back and forth on weekends. That cost somebody some $$$. :D