Is It Against the Law to Not Give Your ID to a Cop?
Shawn Randall Thomas
Is it a violation of any law to not produce an identification card upon a request or demand of a law enforcement official, anywhere in America? In general, the answer is no.
This should be a simple matter of common-sense as there is no lawful obligation placed on a free man in America that he own an identification card.
If there exist no lawful obligation that one own an identification card, there can exist no lawful obligation that one carry an identification card; therefore there can exist no lawful obligation that one produce an identification card upon the request or demand of a cop; and there can be no penalty for refusing to produce an identification card.
“Stop & ID” does not place any obligation upon any man to own or carry an identification card. In fact, if one was to actually read the so-called stop and ID codes, referred to as “laws”, one may discover that those codes do not place any lawful obligation upon anyone to own or carry an identification card.
Furthermore, many of these codes only establish that a cop can ask for ID; but even if they somehow establish a “right” of a cop to demand ID, they still do not place an obligation on the people to perform, or to produce an identification card.
Because most law enforcement officials in America are incredibly incompetent at law, there exist the misnomer that failing to produce an identification card is somehow an obstruction of a cop’s investigation, and therefore is a violation of some law.
Again, one should instinctively rely on common-sense: What lawful obligation is a free man ever under in America to participate in; or otherwise further a police officer’s “investigation”? The answer is none; and if the cop was honest, he would replace the word “investigation” with the term “fishing expedition”, because that is what it is. More likely than not the cop has no probable cause for an arrest, so he hopes that the ID card will provide that probable cause.
Often one will hear a cop attempt to justify his request for an ID card by saying something like “I don’t know who you are.”, or “How do I know that you aren’t wanted for murder?” This is his admission that he’s on a fishing expedition. Your refusal to produce an ID card only fuels his mistaken belief that the ID card will establish the probable cause necessary for an arrest.
You, however, should keep one simple fact in mind when confronted with this kind of “Noble Cause Corruption”; that fact is that as long as there exist no probable cause of a crime, there exist no probable cause for an arrest, and being able to establish that fact is not only your “Get Out Of Jail Free” card, but it is also the passcode to that cop’s bank account. Also, you should know that detaining a man for the purposes of identification is a seizure [an arrest] under the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution as a matter of fact, and as a matter of law.
It has been my experience, which holds true with the hundreds of videos and case law out there, that police officers do not know law; they simply follow orders, and most lack the aptitude to even interpret the orders that they follow. Laying the groundwork for future victories in both the criminal court and the civil court should be a priority when dealing with cops on the scene. Always record, and know the law where it pertains to issues of the ID card.
Read Terry v Ohio; People v DeBour; and all the relevant case law that you can find on the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution; and on the relevant parts [search and seizure] of the state constitution. The cop believes that you know less than he does when it comes to law; let him believe that, and ask the questions that will ensure that he is disavowed of his beliefs later on in a courtroom.