“Let me see your I.D.”

Published On March 2, 2013 | By Jason Bassler | Articles

COP BLOCK- IDLAWS

In 24 states police may require you to identify yourself
(if they have reasonable suspicion that you’re involved in criminal activity.)

“Stop and identify” statutes are laws in the United States that allow police to detain persons and request such persons to identify themselves, and arrest them if they do not.

In the United States, interactions between police and citizens fall into three general categories: consensual (“contact” or “conversation”), detention (often called a Terry stop), or arrest. “Stop and identify” laws pertain to detentions.

Consensual

At any time, police may approach a person and ask questions.
The person approached is not required to identify himself or answer any other questions, and may leave at any time.

Police are not usually required to tell a person that he is free to decline to answer questions and go about his business; however, a person can usually determine whether the interaction is consensual by asking, “Am I free to go?”

Detention

Police may briefly detain a person if they have reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. A video from Flex Your Rights describing reasonable suspicion. Police may question a person detained in a Terry stop, but in general, the detainee is not required to answer.[10] However, many states have “stop and identify” laws that explicitly require a person detained under the conditions of Terry to identify himself to police, and in some cases, provide additional information. (As of February 2011, the Supreme Court has not addressed the validity of requirements that a detainee provide information other than his name.)

Arrest

A detention requires only that police have reasonable suspicion that a person is involved in criminal activity. However, to make an arrest, an officer must have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime. Some states require police to inform the person of the intent to make the arrest and the cause for the arrest. But it is not always obvious when a detention becomes an arrest. After making an arrest, police may search a person, his or her belongings.

Variations in “stop and identify” laws

  • Five states’ laws (Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, and Ohio) explicitly impose an obligation to provide identifying information.
  • Fourteen states grant police authority to ask questions, with varying wording, but do not explicitly impose an obligation to respond:
  • In Montana, police “may request” identifying information;
  • In 12 states (Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Wisconsin), police “may demand” identifying information;
  • In Colorado, police “may require” identifying information of a person.
  • Identifying information varies, but typically includes
  • Name, address, and an explanation of the person’s actions;
  • In some cases it also includes the person’s intended destination, the person’s date of birth (Indiana and Ohio), or written identification if available (Colorado).
  • Arizona’s law, apparently written specifically to codify the holding in Hiibel, requires a person’s “true full name”.
  • Nevada’s law, which requires a person to “identify himself or herself”, apparently requires only that the person state his or her name.
  • In five states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island), failure to identify oneself is one factor to be considered in a decision to arrest. In all but Rhode Island, the consideration arises in the context of loitering or prowling.
  • Seven states (Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Vermont) explicitly impose a criminal penalty for noncompliance with the obligation to identify oneself.
  • Virginia makes it a nonjailable misdemeanor to refuse to identify oneself to a conservator of the peace when one is at the scene of a breach of the peace witnessed by that conservator.

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  • John

    So in RI they can require ID or that you identify yourself regardless of the existence of reasonable suspicion?

  • t.

    Nice

  • ThePatriot

    they can detain you briefly if they have suspicion of a ‘crime’ but what do all the courts say about traffic infractions? (most are not ‘criminal offenses’ but are ‘civil’ in nature!) thing is that once you hand the cop a commercial drivers license (and no DMV in any state sells anything but, they all use the CLASSIFIED LICENSE SYSTEM consisting of class A B C & D commercial operators licenses!) you have [unknowingly in most cases] waived your constitutional rights including the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure unless they have a warrant issued by a judge or reasonable articuable suspicion of criminal activity. if you have retained your rights, have no warrant for your arrest, aren’t guilty of any criminal activity (courts say traffic violations aren;t criminal!) and the officer has been noticed, any further action on the officers part (other than saying: sorry to bother you, have a nice day) is a felony deprivation of rights and punsihable under 18 US Code Section 242 and 42 US Code Section 1983 (also a violation of their oath to UPHOLD THE FREAKING LAW although nazis tend to only pay attebntion to the parts that benefit them ad ignore the rest am I right?). So, if you want to fight the bastards, set them up legally with their own law and beat them silly with it in federal court (unlike the local court, they aren’t in bed with the local police and you can sue them in their PERSONAL capacity because they LOSE their lawful immunity of office [as well as the office itself] while they are committing a felony!)

  • ThePatriot

    /\ should add that getting your ducks in a row to gain the upper hand (legally speaking) includes providing the NECESSARY information as required BY LAW which varies by state but is usually ID (which should include current address) and, if you’re traveling by vehicle [not for hire] having the bill of sale to the vehicle leaves no question as to who the owner is. they may pass statutes requiring you to show a license/registration etc. but the statute is only applicable in conjunction with the license (and a commercial license is not required by law for PRIVATE travel!) and you also have the RIGHT to not provide information/testimony/documentation which will be used against you in a court of law and that includes a DRIVERS LICENSE and REGISTRATION (used to prove the first element in any claim against you and proceed against you in their rigged kangaroo court based on the LEGAL PRESUMPTION that you have waived all your rights to DUE PROCESS and trial in a proper court by a jury of peers not someone who has a vested interest in [/prsonally profits from] a guilty verdict). due process is another way to hang them, they will never follow their own law, hold all responsible to the law with the same zeal they do with their twisted version of it!

  • Shawn

    @T

    If you like police state mentality. Personally, any cop who wants more than my identification can first answer why his daughter can’t stop servicing all the thugs on MLK boulevard.

    My comings and goings are my business and no one else. But again, I guess you need to have strangers pry into your life on flimsy made up crap because they have a gut feeling before you will understand why people take issue with this.

  • Aaron

    t: that’s what your wife and momma said when I dropped my drawers. I thought the applause was a little much, but then I thought, compared to what t has to offer, I suppose it’s reasonable.

  • Tom Joad

    I don’t think any state can require one to go around with a “valid ID”, but may have to give their name upon request.

    I know damned well that my “destination” is none of their business, nor is “where I just came from”, nor anything other than my name. No way I am even required to have a destination. I could be walking around with none. We’re I came from is not required because it could be incriminating even though I did nothing wrong.

    Police ought to start doing their jobs instead of harassing citizens.

  • slappy

    Just show them your ID. What is the big deal? Whining and crying about it isn’t going to fix anything. It isn’t up to activists to decide if it is legal or not to show the officer a ID when they request one.

  • http://sunnyrobinson.tumblr.com @s_robins

    Slappy: “just give them your id, what’s the big deal?”
    If the man tells you to lick his boots, just do it.
    When you’re a homeland security checkpoint and the man decides you need an anal search, don’t resist -just bend over and say thank you.

  • http://www.policemisconduct.net Glenn

    Good post, and a good clarification of the issue. Thanks Cop Block!

    POLICE OFFICER RAPES A THREE MONTH OLD INFANT AND A ONE YEAR OLD CHILD!

    When you see common sense, t., underoath, psosgt and all the other shills spew their boot-licking propaganda here on Cop Block, remember, THIS IS WHO THEY ARE, THIS IS WHAT THEY STAND FOR, AND THIS IS WHAT THEY DEFEND!

    Wichita KS police officer Officer Joseph T. McGill, 28, was convicted today of committing a sexual act on a 3-month-old child and a 1-year-old child. Officer McGill pleaded guilty in January 2012 in an unrelated case to sexual battery while on duty as a police officer and was sentenced to three years probation. Those charges stemmed from separate incidents in November 2010 and February 2011. The judge set sentencing for March 1.
    :
    http://www.kansas.com/2013/01/24/2649372/former-police-officer-convicted.html

  • Humberto

    @ Shawn: comments like that can be construed as veiled threats against the officer and his/her family. People have been arrested and successfully prosecuted for those kind of comments, since it comes down to how the officer’s official “interpretation” of the comment was. And the courts tend to back (unless it is so obvious the officer is twisting it so out of proportion to justify arrest) how the officer claims he/she read into the statement, since it is already in the back of a judge’s mind (although not said) that a law abiding citizen would not make such comments to begin with, and would fully be cooperative and respectful, therefore the person makng those comments must be a criminal element to start with.

  • Humberto

    @ Tom Joad: in some States, you can be charged with loiterind and/or prowling if you are not within a certain distance of your home and don’t have a legal reason to be where you are, or give satisfacory answers to where you are headed. I know, because the police wanted to charge me with that down in Florida based on the way I looked, but a senior officer showed on the scene, and instructed the arresting officer (who already informed me I was being charged and cuffed me) to release me because it would be tossed because I was within 500 feet of my place of residence, therefore did not meet the statute, since I had a legal right to wander my own neighborhood with no explanition neccessary. I was then told to move because I did belong in the neighborhood.

    In all fairness, though, I live in a bit of an upper crust community, and I tend to dress a little shabby with ripped up jeans and beat up shoes, and don’t cut my hair very often, so I kind of stick out. I am clean, do my laudry twice a week and shower daily, I just don’t like wearing nice clothes for every day wandering about, because I don’t want to wear out my nice clothes, so I tend to wear beat downs. My hair grows so fast, that it becomes costly getting a cut every two to three weeks, that I choose to do it every 6 to 8 weeks or so, so it does start to look unkempt after a month or so. Also, in my neighborhood, there tends to be a lot of burgleries. But still, the initial stop occured from profiling, because I looked like a junkie or vagrant in their eyes, and as a result, wanting to get me processed into the system and getting a record going. i believe that because after the senior officer ordered my realease, he started teasing me, caslling me a sissy, and I responded I wasn’t a sissy, he told me then stand up and prove I wasn’t. All I did was kind of laugh and shook my head, because I knew it was a game to get me to say somthing, or react so they would have somthing that would stck. When he asked what was no funny, I responded nothing, and he then again proceeded to call me a sissy and run home to my mama. When i responded my mother had been dead for 12 years now, the officer started shouting “whatever, you’re free to go so go, unless you want to go to jail” in which case he would be more then happy to accomadate me. I started walking away, got half a block away, looked back and saw all the officers staring at me intently. It was like they were waiting me to yell somthing, or start running, anything that would give ‘em legal cause. It reminded of lions checking out prey, getting ready to pounce, and I could feel they wanted me to say or do somthing ( like start running), they were practicly praying for it.

  • Jim

    Slappy, how’s that boot taste, buddy?

  • Tom Joad

    Sloppy, no one is whining or crying. It’s not legal. A citizen who is not driving a car is not and should never be required to carry papers on them proving who they are. And never have to explain where they are going. You can give up your rights, but you have no right to give up ours.

  • Mr. Bawkbagawk

    ive noticed that cop block commenters are really easy to troll right off topic, is that why so few of you ever accomplish anything? stop responding to the idiots, you will NEVER argue them around to your point of view. they are not here to be convinced, they are here to troll. dont feed trolls.

  • Shawn

    @slappy

    “It isn’t up to activists to decide if it is legal or not to show the officer a ID when they request one.”

    wake up without a brain today? Nothing that is wrong gets corrected by ignoring it. And it is more than just showing ID. It is the growing tendency of playing 20 questions about things that I just don’t feel like sharing with farm animals. You don’t have a right to answers to any question you feel like asking. Where I’ve been, where I’m going, and why is just plain not your business.

    Besides, you’re wife wouldn’t like me sharing her secrets.

  • certain

    Weak people who gain all authority over others from “official” power, will rarely voluntarily relinquish that power and authority. Instead they will seek ways to expand and strengthen it. That’s why you see such a fierce defense of an obviously broken and corrupt system.

  • Common Sense

    “Your papers! Now!”

  • Shawn

    @common

    You laugh, but people used to understand there were limits to the power people had over them. Or do you particularly enjoy being forced to tell others your business?
    Then again, s.once your business usually involves farm animals, the cops may want to here your stories. Bah.

    @Humberto

    I’m not sure what comment you think can be viewed as a threat. As to the rest, that is the risk of our modern police. Check, they can hallucinate a gun in a girl’s hand, shoot at her, and walk away with only an oops. Cops see threats everywhere.

  • http://www.policemisconduct.net Glenn

    Bear in mind that trolls are in no way a bad thing. I am reminded of the native American saying that you judge a mans strength by how many enemies he has. Using that benchmark, Cop Block must be truly powerful indeed.

    POLICE OFFICER RAPES A THREE MONTH OLD INFANT AND A ONE YEAR OLD CHILD!

    When you see common sense, t., underoath, psosgt and all the other shills spew their boot-licking propaganda here on Cop Block, remember, THIS IS WHO THEY ARE, THIS IS WHAT THEY STAND FOR, AND THIS IS WHAT THEY DEFEND!

    Wichita KS police officer Officer Joseph T. McGill, 28, was convicted today of committing a sexual act on a 3-month-old child and a 1-year-old child. Officer McGill pleaded guilty in January 2012 in an unrelated case to sexual battery while on duty as a police officer and was sentenced to three years probation. Those charges stemmed from separate incidents in November 2010 and February 2011. The judge set sentencing for March 1.
    :
    http://www.kansas.com/2013/01/24/2649372/former-police-officer-convicted.html

  • BluEyeDevil

    COMMON,
    ” NO SHOOT ME PIG “

  • Steve H

    Wrong about Florida. you are not required to ID yourself even if you are being investigated for loitering or prowling unless you have exhitbited an imminent danger to other people or property. If the leo cannot articulate the imminent danger then the loitering/prowling arrest cannot stand. And you are not required to ID yourself unless you are being lawfully detained in FL.

    Always ask the leo if he asks for your ID, “Am I being lawfully detained”, if not you are not required to give an ID and if the leo say’s that you are: then you are only required to give him your name and you don’t have to do that more than once and you don’t have to spell it for him.

  • Shawn

    @Steve

    “leo say’s that you are: then you are only required to give him your name and you don’t have to do that more than once and you don’t have to spell it for him.”

    Oh come on. Do you really want to watch a cop spell a name without help?! Are you sick? Are you trying to drive them insane? It would be more humane to watch puppies playing in traffic.(I can see LEO hands reflexively going for a gun as soon as I typed that.)

  • PSOSGT

    Add Michigan to the map please.

  • Steve H

    I know leos in FL love to spout off about the loitering statute, but here is the controlling case law: the state has to prove one of the main elements of the statute beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was an imminent threat to public safety or a threat to property. Just being somewhere means jack.

    In State v. Ecker, 311 So.2d 104 (1975), the complaint reflects that the defendant was observed in front of an apartment building. When approached for identification, he apparently had no proper or credible identification. The charging complaint shows no circumstances that threaten the public safety, and, therefore a charge of loitering could not be properly established.

    The higher courts in Fl are cognizant of the fact that the loitering/prowling statute is he only law that is intended to prevent crime from happening rather than punishing a crime that has actually happened. Therefore, the statute is wide open for abuse. Case law is specific as to what loitering/prowling really is, the leos just haven’t read it.

  • Steve H

    My favorite loitering arrest story, is when NJ police arrested Bob Dylan for walking around a neighborhood close to where he was performing that evening a couple years ago. He was walking around in a driving rain storm and of course didn’t have a govt ID because he never drives a vehicle, but when he told him his name, the leos got pissed and drove him to his managers bus on a lark and found out he really was Bob Dylan. Sometimes a Hard Rains just gonna fall.

  • courtofpublicopinion

    hey senseless lets see your papers, oh thats right sorry i forgot lower life forms like you cant see over the counter to have your picture taken so you cant get an id

  • Common Sense

    Ha ha ha, Love it.

    And for you liberals, if you had sway, then change the law. Then again, you can’t even stop the dreaded Bearcat from Keene.

    Always remember, even Ron Paul was a no show for the NDAA vote.

  • Lakewood_in_Afghanistan

    The badgelicking fake cop speaks. I’m sure you have everyone’s full attention with your “law enforcement expertise”.

    Sad.

  • Humberto

    @ Shawn: I am referring to derogatory comments aimed at LEO’s relitives or family. The LEO can claim hetook whay you said as a veiled threat. I know someone who said somthing similier, when questioned about the cash he had on him (he worked as a barback for a club, so he got nice chunks of top outs in cash nightly), and he made a comment that he got it from whoring out the LEO’s mother. The LEO started screaming “You threatening my family!?!” threw him to the ground twisted his arm that he dislocated it, and charged him with resisting with violence and threatening an LEO and/ or family member. He was convicted on both counts and sentenced to a total of 17 years. The whole thing was caught on a police cam, and presented in court,. He appealed, lost and appealed a second time. He won the second appeal and both convictions were overturned. The judge, instead, found him guilty of Disorderly Conduct, sentenced him to the maximum 1 year with time served. But he spent close to 3 years in prison while going thru the appeals process. So it can happen.

    @ Steve H.: the loitering and/or prowling law is not only designed to prevent crime, it’s also one of those charges designed to get someone on file (prints, mugshots, DNA and to start building a case against that person). A lot of times, the police know it will be dismissed, but do it anyhow with those intentions I stated above. They figure if they can’t get a home run on you now, then at least get to first base, and home plate will come later. However, they can’t enforce it if someone is within 500 feet of their own residence and/or place of employment, unless you were seen doing somthing like evading on foot or peaking in windows (cars and homes). I actually learned this with my own encounter I described earlier, because the senior officer was asking the arresting officer was I seen doing any of these things, and when he said no, he said i couldn’t be charged because I was within 500 feet of where I lived, therefore, legally had the right to wander the streets up and down all night if I chose to, as long as I had not tried to evade, avoid detection, or caught peeking into windows. His exact words.

  • C.G.

    Hi, cops may ask for I.D. but what if you don’t carry any (I never do)? You have a right to be secure in your person. Your mind is part of your person and your name resides in your mind.

  • J.B.

    So if I understand this. In Utah if I’m open carrying a hand gun and cop cannot ask for my identification unless I am breaking some other law?

  • StoneAge

    3 things to keep in mind when confronted by a police officer – shut up, don’t say anything and keep your mouth shut. Remember your rights and demand them. Silence is demanding your rights. If they arrest you – go QUIETLY. Go through the process and become damaged. You then have the right to sue that officer personally in a civil case because he violated your rights and you were damaged by that violation.