The vast majority of people in Utah and the rest of the United States likely have some form of government-issued identification. Whether you have a driver’s license, a state ID, or something else, most of us have a photo ID. When interacting with the police, it is normal for them to ask you to show them your ID. Sometimes, this is simply so the police know exactly who they are speaking with. Other times, it is because you are in some sort of trouble with the law. If you are unsure whether the police are working for you or against you, you might be hesitant to show them any personal information like an ID.
In some instances, though not all, you are legally required to present your ID to the police. This requirement is effective in most circumstances where you are in police custody. However, the police may approach you for any reason to ask you questions, and they can ask you for your ID. However, you are not always required to show them your ID. Oftentimes, you are only required to disclose your name and maybe your address, nothing more. The key to staying out of trouble is knowing the difference between these two situations.
If you are in legal trouble because you refused to present your ID to law enforcement, you might be able to fight your case. While police can get frustrated when you refuse to show your ID, they cannot always place you under arrest or otherwise subject you to legal penalties. Schedule a free legal consultation with our team at Overson & Bugden to discuss your ID incident. Call (801) 758-2287 to get started with our Utah criminal defense attorneys.
When Are You Required to Show ID to Utah Police?
Citizens are usually required to disclose their identities to the police when they are lawfully stopped. A stop could be on the street or in a vehicle. If the police have detained you for whatever reason and ask to see your ID, you need to present your ID. In fact, according to the Utah Code § 76-8-301.5, it is a Class B misdemeanor to fail or refuse to disclose your ID to the authorities when required to do so.
However, disclosing your identity does not always mean you have to show physical documentation, like a license or state ID, to the police. In some cases, simply telling them your name and address will suffice. According to the language in the Utah Code § 77-7-15, a police officer can stop you in any public space if they have reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime. When you are stopped, the police can demand your name, address, date of birth, and an explanation for your behavior. The law does not explicitly state that a physical identification document must be presented.
However, there may be circumstances where specific forms of ID might be required. For example, while a police officer who stops you on the street can ask your name and address, an officer who pulls you over on the highway could demand your actual driver’s license. This is because the officer needs to know you are a licensed driver. In a different scenario, law enforcement could ask for a specific form of ID, like a passport, to prove you are a legal citizen.
If you are in trouble for refusing to present your ID to the authorities, contact our Sandy criminal defense attorneys for help immediately.
Showing ID to Police During a Vehicle Stop in Utah
The police may conduct traffic stops for a wide variety of reasons. They may have observed you violating a traffic law, like speeding, or they might suspect you of drinking and driving. In any case, you can be stopped and briefly detained by the police on the road.
During a traffic stop, you must present the police with your ID and registration. It is not enough to merely tell the police your name and other personal information. The police not only need your identification to continue with the traffic stop, but they also need to know that you are a licensed driver and that your vehicle is registered.
The police are also legally authorized under the above-mentioned laws to demand your ID because they have stopped you under the suspicion of breaking the law. If the stop were for some other reason, you might not be required to show your ID to law enforcement.
When ID is Not Required in Utah
ID is not required in any interaction with the police where you are not in custody nor have been stopped under suspicion of committing a crime. The police interact with ordinary people on a daily basis, and many of these interactions are not criminal investigations. Perhaps a crime recently took place in your neighborhood and the police stopped you to ask if you have noticed any suspicious activities. In such a case, you are not being detained or taken into custody. You are free to withhold your ID and walk away from the conversation if you so desire.
While the police could ask you to show ID, if you are not in custody or stopped in relation to some criminal activity, you can refuse. While the police may become a bit frustrated, they cannot penalize you. The statute mentioned previously states that refusal to disclose your identification can result in a Class B misdemeanor. This is only if the police are within to rights to demand your ID.
If you refused to provide the police with your ID and then were criminally charged, contact our Park City criminal defense lawyers for assistance. We can help you fight your charges and protect your rights.
Call Our Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you are in legal trouble for failing or refusing to hand your ID over to the authorities, our Utah criminal defense lawyers can help. Schedule a free legal consultation with our staff at Overson & Bugden to discuss your case. Call (801) 758-2287 for help now.