When Can Police Ask For I.D.?

There is no Federal Law requiring citizens to carry identification. Some states (24 as of this writing) have stop and id statutes.

So when can police ask for ID?

Carrying an ID is generally required if you’re driving a vehicle or if you’re traveling on a commercial airline, and of course at certain checkpoints. Officers can only ask for ID in certain situations. ID laws themselves are fairly complicated.

In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, the Supreme Court supported States that required citizens to reveal who they were to police officers if the police officers had reasonable suspicion (“RS”) that crime was afoot and ask for ID. You can tell if an officer has RS just by asking if they are detaining you or if your free to go. If you are not free to go, well buddy, your being detained and they have some RS. If they say your free to go..well get the hell out of there immediately. Do not stop to collect $200 go right on pass go! The longer you linger the higher the chance of an arrest or questioning. Please check your state laws, some states you are required to at least give your name, address, and date of birth if you do not have an ID. If you are detained do not stress too much, such detainments do not always hold up in court, even if the police had a right to ask for ID. RS is a legal standard and police officers are human, they too make mistakes. Don’t feel afraid to contact an attorney about your detainment if you feel like you have been wronged and retrieve the officers badge number. So if you’re in a state that does not have a one of those “give me your ID laws”, and police approach you and ask for ID, feel free to ask them if your free to go, because its likely they do not have a RS they are just stereotyping.

If they detain you must give them:

  • Legal Name
  • Real DOB (date of birth)
  • Current Address.

In addition, never consent to an officer asking for ID when they are at your door.

The following video if fairly helpful in understanding your rights.


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