Monday, November 1, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Different obligations apply to drivers of automobiles, who generally are required by state vehicle codes to present a driver’s license to a police officer upon request.
A lot of legal terms, but bear with me.. They all come into play in this new law.
There are three types of Police/citizen contacts:
At any time, a police officer may approach a person and ask questions. The objective may simply be a friendly conversation; however, the officer also may suspect involvement in a crime, but lack “specific and articulable facts” that would justify a detention or arrest, and hope to obtain these facts from the questioning. The person approached is not required to identify herself or answer any other questions, and may leave at any time. Police are not usually required to tell a person that she is free to decline to answer questions and go about her business; however, a person can usually determine whether the interaction is consensual by asking, “Am I free to go?”
A person is detained when circumstances are such that a reasonable person would believe he is not free to leave.
Police may briefly detain a person if they have reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Many state laws explicitly grant this authority; in Terry v. Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court established it in all jurisdictions, regardless of explicit mention in state or local laws. Police may conduct a limited search for weapons (known as a “frisk”) if they reasonably suspect that the person to be detained may be armed and dangerous.
Police may question a person detained in a Terry stop, but in general, the detainee is not required to answer. However, many states have “stop and identify” laws that explicitly require a person detained under the conditions of Terry to identify himself to a police officer, and in some cases, provide additional information.
Before Hiibel, it was unresolved whether a detainee could be arrested and prosecuted for refusing to identify himself. Authority on this issue was split among the federal circuit courts of appeal, and the U.S. Supreme Court twice expressly refused to address the question. In Hiibel, the Court held, in a 5-4 decision, that a Nevada “stop and identify” law did not violate the United States Constitution. The Court’s opinion implied that a detainee was not required to produce written identification, but could satisfy the requirement merely by stating his name. Some “stop and identify” laws do not require that a detainee identify himself, but allow refusal to do so to be considered along with other factors in determining whether there is probable cause to arrest.
As of January 2010, the Supreme Court has not addressed the validity of requirements that a detainee provide information other than his name.
While detention requires only that police have reasonable suspicion that a person is involved in criminal activity, an arrest requires that the officer have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime. Although some states require police to inform the person of the intent to make the arrest and the cause for the arrest, it is not always obvious when a detention becomes an arrest. After making an arrest, police may search a person, her belongings, and her immediate surroundings.
Whether an arrested person must identify herself may depend on the jurisdiction in which the arrest occurs. If a person is under arrest and police wish to question her, they are required to inform the person of her Fifth-Amendment right to remain silent by giving a Miranda warning. However, Miranda does not apply to biographical data necessary to complete booking. It is not clear whether a “stop and identify” law could compel giving one’s name after being arrested, although some states have laws that specifically require an arrested person to give her name and other biographical information, and some state courts have held that refusal to give one’s name constitutes obstructing a public officer. As a practical matter, an arrested person who refused to give her name would have little chance of obtaining a prompt release.
Arizona has a stop and identify statute under ARS