General Question

gtreyger's avatar

What to do when police asks for ID?

Asked by gtreyger (1397 points ) February 13th, 2010

So, you are walking down the street, or riding a bicycle, or in a passenger seat of a car, and a police officer approaches you and asks you for identification, without offering any explanation as to why. Do I have to identify myself (either orally or by providing a government issued photo ID), or can I just state that I would like to exercise my right to remain silent/ask if I am free to proceed and depart the area?
Is this something that is set at the Federal level or varies by location?

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27 Answers

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

“I would like to exercise my right to remain silent/ask if I am free to proceed and depart the area?”

I would go with that. Then again, I have authority issues.
-Dan

Chikipi's avatar

I would show my ID after I get a firm confirmation he was an officer (ask to see his badge) I don’t have anything to hide.

ragingloli's avatar

The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined that if you want to become suspicious to them you can surely do that. Or you can just comply and get over this triviality.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

I refuse. Let them waste their time carting me to the station. I didn’t do anything wrong.

Arisztid's avatar

My only problem with this would be that, if he was on foot, a badge and uniform can be faked or stolen. I would not trust that he is, indeed, a police officer. Maybe this could be verified by radio.

If he is in a unit, I would be more likely to be able to verify that he is a police officer. I still would prefer to have it verified through the radio because I have heard of people stealing a police unit and uniform.

I would get his badge number and, if possible, call 911 on a cellular phone to verify. I do not have a cellular phone so that is hypothetical.

Once I verified that, I would show him my ID.

dpworkin's avatar

This is a very important document, available different languages and in PDF form. You should read it and share it.

faye's avatar

I wouldn’t be carrying ID unless I was driving. My ex husband was picked up on the morning of our marriage because he “looked’ like a criminal. He did have ID so it was okay. The long hair and beard probably set them off.

marinelife's avatar

Here is the list of states that require you to identify yourself ot law enforcement.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

(I’m good. Both Pennsylvania and Michigan don’t have them. Go stuff it Mr. Please Man.)

Symbeline's avatar

Show it to him I guess. What else am I gonna do? Tell him to suck dick?

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

the latter, of course

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

You give them your ID. Being uncooperative with the police is an action that tends not to work out well for you.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

Unless under some legal mandate to be “cooperative”, it is your right to be uncooperative. Some, like myself, may even say it is your responsibility. This country was founded by criminals, not sheep.

ragingloli's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna
So your allegiance is with the British crown I hope?

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

No, you misunderstand. I’m saying, if the revolution had failed, the founding fathers would have been killed, drawn and quartered, and had their entrails burned as traitors to the crown.

So, sometimes you have to do what many others consider wrong to do what is right. I imagine if a redcoat had asked Mr. Jefferson for his papers around 1779, it wouldn’t have turned out well for the soldier. I believe docilely bending over for authority is not what the fiercely independent founding fathers intended. In fact, they never intended for the central government to get as big as it has, so I say any extension of that engorged beast’s power is fair game.

neverawake's avatar

Forge one.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I think we’re a long way off in the US from the police state but it’s good to stay vigilant.

There’s also something to be said for choosing your battles.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

@captain fantasy

Do you really think we are a long way off from a police state?
I dont think we are one yet…. but we are well on our way to becoming one. Have you noticed the mandatory digital licenses yet? How about all the camera being installed all over the place? It hasnt happened yet, but it is only a matter of time, or reason, before these cameras are linked with our licenses, tracking our every move.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Chris6137, I’ve found that we are all watching each other far more closely than the gov’t is.

It’s also likely that Google knows far more about you than the police or gov’t do.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I agree.
My concern is of the govt passing law to acquire this information and use it to stifle dissent and follow the new definition of “terrorists.” A great example is the DOJ currently trying to continue their warrentless wiretap program.

To answer the question at hand, whenever I am approached by a police officer and asked for ID, I hand over my ID and my gold PBA card. Not that I’m ever doing anything illegal, besides the occasional speeding or talking on the cell phone, but I guess since I’m “part of the club,” I have never had any problems or harassment by police officers.
I dont agree with all cops or laws, and I have a problem with authority, but I would rather use the card and be respectful whether or not I agree with the cop and be on my way without a problem, rather than give the cop any reason to give me a problem.

john65pennington's avatar

Its called Probable Cause. an officer is not going to interfere with your right of freedom, unless he has probable cause to believe you have violated a law, whether it be a traffic or criminal violation. police officers know this. in Tennessee, you are required to carry identification and present it to a police officer, when asked. the officer will tell you why you were stopped and the reason for asking for your identification. not complying will only send a red flag to the officer and could further complicate the situation.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I showed it. But I was 16 and afraid of the police.

gtreyger's avatar

Here is a video of a police officer interfering with the right to freedom of these gentlemen. Judging from the video, he had no right whatsoever to request that they identify themselves, but he did anyway. And if the two gentlemen did not assert their right, he would’ve gotten away with, for lack of better term, violating their 4th Amendment rights.
Overall, I do my best to NEVER talk to the police (present company excluded, as everything I say in written form), because I have the right to not talk to police. I don’t have anything to hide, but I will not allow for a search of my person or my property without a warrant because I have a right not to be searched. I will not physically resist, but will state that I do not consent to any search of my or my property (except for the patdown to check for weapons).
In all reality, the only contact I had with police in my experience is when I get pulled over. I was never questioned by an officer of the law for anything else. To me, it’s just a hypothetical situation. But videos like the one I mentioned above really drive the point home. In order to make sure that we will not become a police state, we need to police the police.
That is why I asked. To see what my rights would be, should I get approached for no reason (i.e. sitting in a car, or walking on a street).

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

RIGHT ON!!!!

thriftymaid's avatar

I wouldn’t care—they can see my driver license.

Val123's avatar

THAT would be a very odd thing to have happen. I think I might call the cops!

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