When Is It Required To Provide Identification To Law Enforcement?

Attorney, Colby Kanouse talks about when is it required to provide one’s name and/or identification to law enforcement when requested.

Identification to Law Enforcement Video Transcript

Hello folks.  For those of you who dont know me, Im Colby Kanouse and Im an Attorney here at Chuck Franklin Law.  Were going to talk a little bit today about a question that has come in and that question is:  When do you have to provide your name to a Police Officer?


First of all, it is important to know that its actually a crime in Arizona to refuse to provide your name to a Police Officer; but thats only if the Officer has a valid reason to stop you in the first place.  There is a Statute that makes it a Class II misdemeanor to refuse to provide your truthful name to a cop.  A Class II misdemeanor is punishable by up to a $750.00 fine as well as two to four months in jail.  The good news on this one is there is no mandatory minimum penalty; but that said, if an Officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that you have committed an offense or in the process of committing an offense or are about to commit an offense, and he asks you your name you have to give it to him.  

Now its sort of undecided at this point whether or not that Statute is constitutional.  I can think of a couple scenarios where it might not be.  Obviously, you have the Right to remain silent and you have the Right not to incriminate yourself.  Those are Constitutional Rights they are inviable; and to the extent that this Statute requires you to provide your name where doing so would incriminate yourself, I think it is unconstitutional.  But that has not been decided and as a practical matter, I dont think I would gamble on it.  Its much easier simply to provide your name.  

Now theres another practical problem with this Statute and that is how are you suppose to know if the cop has reasonable suspicion?  Your only required to provide your name if the cop has reasonable suspicion to believe you are in the process of committing an offense or have committed an offense; but how are you suppose to know, as a layman on the street, when that is?  And even if youre an Attorney, thats not an easy analysis to conduct because you dont know what the Officer knows, what he saw, or what he thinks he saw.  And so, because of that, again as a practical matter you really should provide your name, truthful name, to a Police Officer, if he asks for it.  You definitely dont have to say anything else and the Statute does not require thatyou provide any other information but you do have to provide your name.  

Thank you.