Are you legally required to show a police officer ID when asked?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Armueller2001, Dec 19, 2008.


  1. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Just curious as to what the law is on this...
     
  2. Yes, they are permitted to ID anyone they are doing business with.

    Josh
     
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  4. fitbass3p

    fitbass3p

    Oct 7, 2006
    Madison, WI
    In most situations, no, you are not legally required to show identification to police officers. Obviously, there are some major exceptions. The most obvious one is driving, as you must be able to prove that you are a legally licensed driver (which is a privilege, not a right), and other things of that nature.

    But, for most situations, no, you do not....


    ...the flip side is, if a police officer has a probable cause or suspicion which leads him to ask for your ID, and you do not provide it, you are likely to be detained until the point at which they can prove your identity. And then you might be released, if the person they were looking for isn't actually you ;)
     
  5. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    That's what I thought... I knew while driving you need to show a driver's license obviously but if an officer just asks to see your ID, you don't need to show it to them. I wonder if that applies in a bar? Standing there with your drink, an officer says "Let me see your ID" and you say no...

    I know they're permitted to ID anyone, but my question is, is the citizen allowed to refuse?
     
  6. Deluge Of Sound

    Deluge Of Sound Banned

    Nov 8, 2007
    Maine/Vermont
    Then I'm sure he'd have the backing of the law on his side to make life wildly uncomfortable for you. Cops tend to dislike it when you say no to them, and the legal system usually punishes you for doing so.

    That being said, if you're already in the bar holding the drink, he has no reason to assume that you aren't of a legal age to drink. If you walk out of a supermarket carrying a twenty-four pack, that's a bit of a different story.
     
  7. Best sentence to know when dealing with cops is as follows......"I do not consent to any searches." Plain and simple, the cop will still do whatever he is able to do that doesn't require your consent, so anything with probable cause is out. But this covers all your basic rights and lets the cop know where you stand. A cops job is to find what he can, it includes manipulating and tricking you into waving your rights and consenting to anything they want you to. They do a great job at it, and it does a good job finding a lot of bad things. If you have things to hide, flex your rights and you'll probably be okay. It's not being rude, and they wont see it as rude. They are trained to uphold the law, if you have the law on your side (basic rights) then they USUALLY respect that.
     
  8. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    I'm a big fan of the "flex your rights" videos. I think that's what you're referring to... I definitely think that "I don't consent to any searches" and "Officer, am I free to go or am I being detained?" are two of the most important sentences to remember. To detain an individual they must have probable cause that a crime has been committed or a law broken.
     
  9. fitbass3p

    fitbass3p

    Oct 7, 2006
    Madison, WI
    That's not quite correct. In most states, they can legally detain you for a small period of time in order to ascertain that nothing illegal has been done. And if you refuse to show ID, you can bet that the cop is probably going to do everything in his legal authority to make sure that you are willing to show ID the first time, on the next occasion you might be asked ;)
     
  10. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    "In the case of Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the Supreme Court of the United States held that police have the ability to do a limited search for weapons of areas within the suspect’s control based on a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the person stopped was "armed or dangerous" and had been, is, or was about to engage in a criminal act. The type of frisk authorized by this decision has become known as a Terry stop and frisk or simply Terry stop.

    A Terry stop has two parts: the stop and the frisk. When Terry stopping someone, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has been, is being, or is about to be committed. During the course of the law enforcement agent's stop, if the officer feels that the suspect is in possession of a weapon that is of danger to him or others, he may conduct a patdown of the suspect's outer clothing garments to search for weapons."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frisking

    The bold sentence means they must have suspicion of a crime to detain you, correct? They can't just detain you for walking down the street and ask for your name and why you're there...
     
  11. fitbass3p

    fitbass3p

    Oct 7, 2006
    Madison, WI
    Ahh, but they can, for seemingly no reason. There could have been a robbery on the next block over that you know nothing about. To you, it's a random stop with no justification. The suspicion does not come from you, but your proximity to something else that happened. However, in this case it's just the officer trying to do his job to make sure that the the right person gets caught.

    For the most part, in reality, you're right. A police officer is probably not going to go out of their way to detain you unless you've done something to provoke "reasonable and articulable suspicion." To keep tying it back to your original post, though, not providing ID in the situation I just gave would be valid justification of suspicion, and the officer would probably detain you as suspect. However, it is still legal for you to not provide ID in that case. Just a bad idea.
     
  12. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Meh. Thanks for the clarification :)

    Sorry to keep going around in circles, but how would refusing to present an ID give them suspicion? Would refusing a search of your car give them suspicion as well, and reason for detainment?
     
  13. fitbass3p

    fitbass3p

    Oct 7, 2006
    Madison, WI
    To stop you from going around in circles, I'll pose the question I should have first responded with: Why would you refuse to present ID?

    I'll grant you that refusing to any searches is in your best interest, and also within your legal rights, but I can't find a single instance in which it would be better for you to refuse to identify yourself. (Unless you're already a criminal, outstanding warrant, etc, but this conversation isn't about that subgroup of people from my understanding of what you're trying to achieve.)

    And yes, refusing a search of your car can lead to detainment by reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, if they stopped you for almost any other reason. However, that still doesn't give them the right (at least in FL, to the best of my knowledge) to search your car without further legal permission.
     
  14. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Because it's a citizen's right to refuse to present an ID, just as it's a citizen's right to refuse searches and speak freely without fear of prosection. It's not necessarily a "better" choice, it's just a preference. I prefer to exercise my rights.
     
  15. Which is less wise- to refuse to present ID when asked or to seek legal advice on an internet forum?
     
  16. It's more fun seeing the "aftermath thread" on TalkBass... that's for sure.
     
  17. Word. I'm a rubbernecker.
     
  18. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    You're right, failing to consent to every demand that a peace officer makes, regardless of legality is unwise... :meh:
     
  19. I didn't state that either one was unwise; I asked which of the two choices was less wise.

    Edit: I just tend to trip when these kind of questions are asked here; it would make perfect sense to me if this were a lawyers' forum. What do a bunch of bass players know?
     
  20. Armueller2001

    Armueller2001

    Sep 19, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    Well although we're all not lawyers, I find it interesting to read the laws and I don't think it takes a lawyer to interpret the cases and laws that are pretty easily readable...
     
  21. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    It's your right as a citizen to be stubborn.
    What you must remember is that the cop too has the right to be stubborn.
    You won't win at this game. There's something to be said about choosing your fights.