Do You Need to Give the Police Your ID?

Being a national citizen in a free, democratic country, you should be aware of your rights and the laws that should be followed to live peacefully in a state. Being mindful about your rights and the state laws are favorable for yourself because you should know where when how and why would someone invade your personal space or even if they are allowed to do that or not. 

Regarding the fact of keeping your ID with you, well there is not any US law that requires their citizens to keep any kind of identification with themselves all the time. Although, if you are driving a vehicle or a plane, then it is good for yourself to keep the driving license, vehicle insurance papers and ID. So during a traffic stop, it is illegitimate to refuse the police officer’s request of seeing your ID as it will increase their suspicion and doubts in you. Hence, don’t create an issue and avoid the unnecessary conversations while encountering the police. Just do what they ask for while sitting in your car and play safe. 

However, traffic stops can sometimes not only be the sole reason a police officer would stop your vehicle. It may also mean that they would be investigating for some criminal case and your description somehow you bear a resemblance to the suspect. Hence there could be multiple reasons the officer would ask you to pull over so that’s why keep your calm intact and it’s better to show your legal car documents to let them confirm that you are not the one they are looking for. 

There are three types of legal ways the police can interact with you: consensual interview, detention, and arrest. In the first case, police are allowed to ask you any kind of questions at any time because, well, that’s what they are for. To keep the laws and regulations intact and maintain certain kind of peace in the country, police officers had to perform their job; but in this case, you are not required to provide your identification and can leave the flood of questions asked anytime. In the second case, your freedom is in danger if you don’t stop and identify yourself. You can be detained if the police are suspicious about you and you deny to show your ID. In the third case, that is, being arrested, you must provide your valid identification to proceed with the case filed on you. Here you can refuse to answer any questions (after your arrest) and ask to get your attorney to continue with the formalities of the case. It is better to hire your attorney so that you are guided to say the right words and follow the right directions to safeguard your interests and autonomy.

As there is a famous idiom, “On the head of the thief, burns his hat” which reveals the fact that if you do not go smooth with the law forces and dodge the idea of proving your identity, then even a common man would find you fishy. 

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