Most Cops Will Ask for ID. Do You Know the Law Well Enough to Refuse?

By: Flex Your Rights

You’ve probably seen old movies where the protagonist is approached by a Nazi or Soviet guard and ordered to “show your papers.” We know that’s a tell-tale sign of a police state. So if police ever ask you to show ID during your travels, it’s natural to feel violated.

In a free society, citizens who are minding their own business are not obligated to “show their papers” to police. In fact, in the United States there’s no law requiring citizens to carry identification of any kind.

So when can police ask for ID?

Carrying an ID is generally required if you’re driving a vehicle or a passenger on a commercial airline. These requirements have been upheld on the slippery premise that individuals who prefer not to carry ID can choose not to drive or fly.

From here, ID laws only get more complicated. In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, the Supreme Court upheld state laws requiring citizens to reveal their identity when officers have reasonable suspicion to believe criminal activity may be taking place. Commonly known as “stop-and-identify” statutes, these laws permit police to arrest criminal suspects who refuse to identify themselves.

As of 2013, 24 states had stop-and-identify laws. Regardless of your state’s law, keep in mind that police can never compel you to identify yourself without reasonable suspicion to believe you’re involved in illegal activity.

But how can you tell if an officer asking you to identify yourself has reasonable suspicion? Remember, police need reasonable suspicion to detain you. So one way to tell if they have reasonable suspicion is to determine if you’re free to go.

You can do this by saying “Excuse me officer. Are you detaining me, or am I free to go?”

If the officer says you’re free to go, leave immediately and don’t answer any more questions.

If you’re detained, you’ll have to decide if withholding your identity is worth the possibility of arrest or a prolonged detention. In cases of mistaken identity, revealing who you are might help to resolve the situation quickly. On the other hand, if you’re on parole in California, for example, revealing your identity could lead to a legal search.

Knowing your state’s laws can help you make the best choice.

Remember that the officer’s decision to detain you will not always hold up in court. Reasonable suspicion is a vague legal standard, and police often make mistakes. So if you’re searched or arrested following an officer’s ID request, you may contact an attorney to discuss the incident and explore your legal options.

This entry was posted in Law, Legal, Legal Material and tagged , , , , , on by .

About Customer Service

At Undisputed legal Inc., we are consistently striving for excellence by upgrading the process in which we do business. It is our goal to provide each and every client with personal attention, professional service, and exceptional quality. We understand the plight of our clients, whether they need process services, eviction services, court services, subpoena services, skip trace services, or world compliance investigations, which is why we employ the most professional and experienced New York paralegals, process servers, subpoena servers, and skip tracers/investigators in order to ensure each case is completed accurately and efficiently. With an extreme investment to expand and improve our complete operation, we have invested in state-of-the-art technology and offsite storage in order to comply with recent city/federal licensing regulations that require companies to safeguard and secure confidential information. TRUST AND TRANSPARENCY Here at Undisputed Legal Inc., we believe in empowering all of our clients with a clear understanding of the civil rules and laws related to our services. Process Service: While complex, our staff will take the time to review the rules, laws, timelines and options as they pertain to your service of process. We guarantee diligent attempts however we don't guarantee personal service. Our process servers will make all efforts to successfully serve while adhering to requirements imposed by the jurisdictions in which they operate, providing a detailed record of what transpired on each and every attempt. Court Service: All assignments are handled proficiently and in a timely manner with a proven track record by our paralegals. in the event your documents are rejected by the court, our court paralegals will provide you with a detailed summary of what transpired and how to best move forward. Skip Trace/Background Check: Our skip tracers are able to locate successfully 90% of the time however, there are special circumstances which will effect the results of a skip trace such as, subject being incarcerated, subject has no utilities in his/her name, subject has no social security number, or has relocated overseas. We understand the process can be overwhelming and frustrating which is why transparency is so important.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *