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When do I have to show ID?

This is a tricky issue. As a general principle, citizens who are minding their own business are not obligated to “show their papers” to police. In fact, there is no law requiring citizens to carry identification of any kind.

Nonetheless, carrying an ID is required when you’re driving or flying. Driving without a license is a crime, and no one is allowed to board an airplane without first presenting an ID. These requirements have been upheld on the premise that individuals who prefer not to carry ID can choose not to drive or fly.

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.

Currently the following states have stop and identify laws: AL, AR, CO, DE, FL, GA, IL, KS, LA, MO, MT, NE, NH, NM, NV, NY, ND, RI, UT, VT, WI

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. Rather than asking the officer if he/she has reasonable suspicion, test it yourself by asking if you’re free to go.

If the officer says you’re free to go, leave immediately and refrain from answering any additional questions.

If the officer detains you, 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.**


Check out this AWESOME site for more info about your rights. The Beat The Heat book is amazing, as well as the Busted! DVD.

AS usual haha :) I <3 u, ACLU!


Identifying yourself: In the state of Maryland you are NOT required to identify yourself in a simple street stop like this. The boy was clearly not “suspicious” or looked like he was involved in crime, so he was not required to identify himself, although stating your name and address could be beneficial depending on the situation. And, while being rude to cops may be stupid, it isn’t a crime, so watch out for police who threaten you with violence if you let something slip. Check the above post for more information.

If you find yourself in this above situation:

-Keep quiet. Say “I’m going to remain silent and I would like to see my lawyer”, and then SHUT UP! Remember, if you say ANYTHING after you say you’re going to remain silent, your cone of protection is nullified and you can be questioned as much as the cops see fit.
-If you feel you’re not allowed to leave, politely ask, “Am I free to go?” and/or “Am I being detained?”. Depending on the answer, decide whether to walk away CALMLY, or to remain silent. If you are being detained, ask for your lawyer, and then shut up.
-If the police ever use physical force, DO NOT RESIST. Simply touching a police officer could be called assault on an officer.
-As soon as possible write down everything that happened. Write names, faces, places, any and every detail you can remember of what was done and said. This can help you file a police misconduct report and possibly help you with your case if you were charged.

Whenever in a police encounter, remember these three phrases:

“Officer, am I free to go?”
“I do not consent to this search”
“I am going to remain silent, and I would like to see a lawyer”

Officer Rivieri is currently on paid suspension pending an investigation.

So I went to Yahoo! and right on the home page, and all I see is, CONTROVERSY OVER GOLDEN COMPASS MOVIE!!!!!!! WATCH FIRST 5 MINUTES – SEE WHAT YOU THINK! plastered all over the front (not really, I’m exaggerating people).

So of course, I have to watch it. Movie Link. Right off the bat, not even a minute in – the narrator says, “There are many universes” WHAT!!! Did these people not take English class??? Anyway, the movie clip goes on. Then BAM! You can’t talk about dust! What!! A whole field of study, gone! All the history learned, all the other fields of study that rely on the study of rocks and such, all the economic opportunities created from geology, gone. Craziness… Plus, she, the main character, says something along the lines of “Stop! If you value your life you will not go any further“, yet she backs up, allowing the person she’s talking to move closer. Strange little movie, if you ask me.

Really though, the controversy is the Christians/Catholics are pissed (so what else is new?) because they’re being depicted as evil villians (again, I ask what else is new?). “Evil in Pullman’s books [The ones The Golden Compass is based on] is represented by the church, called the Magisterium, whose acolytes kidnap orphans across England to subject them to horrible experiments in the frozen northern wastelands.” ( What do they want, an Index of Banned Media?? Eh, forget them, they didn’t like A Wrinkle in Time or Bridge to Terabithia either. Weirdos.