When do you have to show I.D. to the police?
There are two different ways a police officer may want to ask you to show your I.D. The first way is when you are driving and you are lawfully pulled over. According to the H.B. 497 Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act, you are legally obligated to show your driver’s license to any police officer. If you refuse, chances are you will end up being arrested for failure to provide I.D.
The second way is when you are not driving and are detained for a crime that a police officer suspects you of committing. In this way, you are not obligated to show your I.D. In this case, you will not be arrested for not providing I.D.; However, if the police officer has probable cause that you are the individual that committed the crime, you will be arrested.
Driving without a license is a crime.
If a police officer has a legitimate reason for stopping you, they can. They can ask for identification, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. Police officers can still ask for these things even if there’s no apparent criminal activity. Failing to provide an I.D. can result in a ticket or, worse, an arrest and potential misdemeanor charge.
Other Circumstances Where Identification May be Requested
When you are a pedestrian, officers may stop and speak with you depending on a wide variety of factors. The common reasons, but are not limited to, can be when and where you are. Perhaps it is late and night during a time when people are not usually out walking. Another reason could be that a crime was recently committed in the area you are in, and police are looking for suspects. Utah is one of several states that engage in “Stop and Identify Laws” This means that you are almost always legally compelled to show identification should police officers request it from you.
This means if a cop asks for I.D., it would be the smart thing to present it. Even if you may feel the questioning is unjust, you do not want to raise any suspicion toward you and provoke an arrest to be made. If you are in any situation where the police officer suspects you to be the individual to have committed any crime, you should provide identification. This does not mean you should have an in-depth conversation with the officer and unwillingly give a statement. You should identify yourself and then remain quiet while you wait for an experienced criminal defense attorney is present to let you know if it’s a good idea to give a statement.