As Passenger Do Cops Have A Right To Ask You For ID?

This is a question I have a lot “Do I have to show my ID on a traffic as a passenger?”

The officer can ASK, but no, the passengers don’t have to give him identification unless there is probable cause to suspect them of something. (The driver is another story — if he’s been pulled over for speeding or something, he does have to show his license.) If a police officer asks to see your ID, ask (politely!) if you are being accused of something, if so, what, and if you are free to go. If you are free to go, then you don’t have to show identification.

A lot of people have no idea what their legal rights are — and a lot of cops apparently either don’t know or don’t care. Just because cops “do it all the time” doesn’t make it either legal or right! Make sure you know your rights and protect them. Otherwise we’ll all be living under the Gestapo in pretty short order. The website below gives some useful tips. Hope it helps.

When do I have to show police my ID?

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 disclose their identity to police 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 2008, 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 criminal 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. One way to tell if they have reasonable suspicion is to determine if you’re free to go. You could 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 refrain from answering any additional questions.

If you’re detained, you’ll have to decide whether 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.

Keep in mind that the officer’s decision to detain you will not always hold up in court. Reasonable suspicion is a vague evidentiary standard, which lends itself to mistakes on the officer’s part. If you’re searched or arrested following an officer’s ID request, always contact an attorney to discuss the incident and explore your legal options.


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