California does not have any laws that require individuals to show ID to police in any instance. Lacking any “Stop and Identify” or “Papers Please” laws, cops are unable to legally penalize you for politely refusing to furnish ID in most circumstances.
However, if you are pulled over or get arrested, you will need to provide the officer with an ID or face additional penalties. In addition, if you were pulled over for a DUI and failed to show ID, your refusal may be used against you in court.
Know Your Rights If You Are Stopped By the Police
The last thing you want is to incriminate yourself unknowingly. Therefore, by remaining calm, polite, and reasonable, you can avoid most issues and refuse most requests from the police. If the police stop you, do your best to follow these steps:
- You have the right to remain silent and refuse consent to any searches.
- Always stay calm and polite. Don’t act erratically or aggressively.
- Follow any lawful command given by the police officer.
- Don’t lie or give any false documents or information. This can end up severely damaging you later on.
You Can Decide if You Will Provide ID When Asked During Some Stops
In many interactions with the police, they may request to see your ID card. You are entitled under California law to refuse the request politely. If you wish to exercise your right not to show your ID, you can simply say, “I do not wish to provide my ID at this time.” You are also allowed to ask if you are free to leave and request clarification about the reason for the stop if the officer refuses to let you go.
You are, however, free to provide your ID to the officer if you would like to do so. In some cases, it may expedite your interaction with the officer. If they are looking for someone in particular or need an easy way to show that you belong in a specific location, showing the officer your ID may be sufficient to clear up any confusion.
Police Officers May Still Arrest You
Failing to provide an officer with your ID is not a surefire way to avoid being arrested. If an officer suspects that you have committed a crime, at least to the level of probable cause, your refusal to present an ID when asked will not stop the arrest.
In addition, officers will sometimes mistakenly arrest people for failing to show ID when asked to do so. While this arrest, usually filed as resisting a peace officer, can be dismissed in many cases, it may be something you wish to avoid by providing your ID.
You Must Provide ID When Your Vehicle Has Been Stopped
While an officer who stops you outside of a vehicle does not have the right to see your ID, you are required to show identification when asked after being pulled over. This is to ensure that you have a license to drive on the road following California Vehicle Code § 12500.
If you get stopped under suspicion of DUI, the officer may consider the refusal as further suspicion of drunk driving. In addition, you can face a misdemeanor charge for refusing to provide your ID on top of any other charges you may face from the stop.
Passengers Do Not Automatically Have to Provide ID
If you are a passenger in a vehicle that the police have stopped, you typically do not have to agree to show your ID if asked. Simply being a passenger in a car that has gotten pulled over is not enough justification for an officer in California to get your ID. They may ask for it, and you have the option to decide on your own if you wish to provide it.
You Must Also Show ID to Police if You’ve Been Arrested
If you politely declined to show your ID, but the police have arrested you, you are required to provide any such identification. Much like refusing to provide an ID when pulled over, failing to provide an ID after being arrested can result in additional misdemeanor charges getting filed against you in accordance with the California Penal Code.
Understand Your Rights Ahead of Time
In California, you have broad rights when it comes to your interaction with the police. If you know your rights, you can affirmatively assert them if an officer ever stops you. This can reduce your stress when interacting with the police and even prevent you from unintentionally incriminating yourself.
If you feel that the police have violated your rights, you should know that any evidence gathered resulting from that violation may be suppressed. Evidence gained improperly should not be used against you at any criminal trial.
Talk To a Los Angeles DUI Attorney Today
Our Los Angeles DUI Attorneys have years of experience and can help you understand the legal options available for your DUI case. If you feel that your rights were violated, you need to speak with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our attorneys today.