Identification Requirements

Identification requirements:

As a person living or visiting in Arizona, with the exception of immigration
related actions or a traffic situation, if a police officer randomly asks you
for identification, you do not need to provide it. If you choose to provide your identification, you should remember the rules of engagement with police which we previously discussed:  never talk to a police officer you did not call; be polite; do not lose your temper or appear to do so and politely ask for a lawyer.

The only time that legally you must provide identification is if you are driving a vehicle. However, if you are being lawfully detained based on  the officer’s
reasonable suspicion that you have committed, are  committing or are about to commit a crime, you then are only required to give your true full name and nothing more pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute §13-2412.  Again, the only other response should be to ask for a lawyer to be present before any questions will be answered. REMEMBER; SILENCE IS GOLDEN.

Can police ask you for your driver’s license if you are walking or are a passenger in a vehicle?  Yes, they can ask you anything they want, but legally you do not have to give it to them!  When in doubt, provide your identification and then ask to call a lawyer. You need not answer any further questions. Officers often will threaten you with arrest for not co-operating with them: they are either ignorant of the law, or are trying to take advantage of you. Politely ask for a lawyer and every so often keep asking for a lawyer.

Remember, always be polite and  ask why you are being stopped and questioned.  Ask if you are you free to leave and, if not, why not? You should be aware that police officers may briefly detain an individual who they have reasonable suspicion to believe is involved in a crime. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 27 (1968). A police officer has the legal power to stop an individual if he “reasonably suspects that the person is committing or has committed a criminal offense.” Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323, 326 (2009).  An officer may also briefly stop any “suspicious individual, in order to determine his[her] identity or to maintain the status quo momentarily while obtaining more information.” Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S. 143, 146 (1972). Unless there is a legal basis to detain a person, the person approached should not be detained and may refuse to cooperate and go on his/her way.

Our next post will discuss what to do if you are stopped for questioning.

13-2412. Refusing  to provide truthful name when lawfully detained; classification

A. It is unlawful for a person, after being advised that the person’s refusal to answer is unlawful, to fail or refuse to state the person’s true full name on request of a peace officer who has lawfully detained the person based on reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. A person detained under this section shall state the person’s true full name, but shall not be compelled to answer any other inquiry of a peace officer.

B. A person who violates this section is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor


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