View Full Version : Is it illegal not to carry ID?

09-15-2001, 02:58 PM
If I'm just walking around, do I need to have ID on me? I realize that I need a driver's license to drive, and ID to get into bars, etc., but is it required to have ID on you at all times? (I'm in CA, if that makes a difference)

09-15-2001, 03:04 PM
Not in the U.S. at the present time.

Johnny L.A.
09-15-2001, 03:05 PM
I remember a case back in the 1980s. A black man had a habit of strolling through Beverly Hills. He was stopped often by the police, and arrested when he could not or did not produce identification. I remember it as "The Walking Man" case. I believe it eventually made it to the Supreme Court, which ruled that a citizen did not have to carry identification.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
09-15-2001, 03:24 PM
IANAL, but I think in some jurisdictions there might be laws proscibing "failure to produce ID," if the suspect is being charged with something. I remember hearing some such event recently (past few months), but for all I know it was on some cop show.:o

09-15-2001, 03:30 PM
Not in the U.S. at the present time.

Well said beatle. By next year we'll all be forced to wear one of these (http://digitalangel.net/da/index.htm).

09-15-2001, 03:41 PM
I lost my driver's license at a parade last spring. I felt naked without it. My bank would not let me transact business, even though they knew who I was. If I'd gotten stopped, I'd've gotten a ticket, and if I'd been stopped as a pedestrian, I could get a ticket for loitering or vagrancy.

It may not be illegal, but it is a hell of an inconvience.


09-15-2001, 05:55 PM
Not in the US, but it sure is illegal in Ukraine not to have ID. When my family and I were in Ukraine a few months ago, we were told to carry our passports with us at ALL TIMES where ever we go. Even the Ukrainian citizens there have to carry their passports everywhere. If you are stopped by police and you do not have ID, you can be detained. So, in some parts of the world it is illegal not to have ID with you, but not here (yet at least).

If anyone is wondering what the heck I was doing in Ukraine, my parents adopted a child from there and I went along for the experience. http://sjnetwork.com/photos/2001ukraine/

09-15-2001, 06:19 PM
Many of those arrested after the Mardi Gras melee in Philadelphia were not carrying or did not produce valid IDs. Philly cops cannot hold those arrested for summary offenses. The arrestees gave false names and were released. They were not found or prosecuted. There is now a move to change the law in Philly regarding producing ID.

09-15-2001, 07:41 PM
Here in the Dallas (TX) area this was in the news not too long ago. Although there are laws about "failure to ID" there is an important point to be made. You can only be charged with failure to ID if you are suspected of some other crime. Absent any criminal activity (or reasonable suspicion thereof), failure to ID is not in itself illegal. It is considered harassment.

Disclaimer: IANAL

(That being said, you may still be charged, but it should be thrown out.)

Aside: I am often amazed about people in bars without ID. I always have mine (I drive, not walk). But then again I'm amazed at people who don't wear watches but feel free to bug me every ten minutes about what time it is!

09-15-2001, 10:10 PM
Originally posted by rsa
But then again I'm amazed at people who don't wear watches but feel free to bug me every ten minutes about what time it is!

I never wear a watch and very seldom ask anyone what time it is and certainly not every ten minutes. You might catch me sneaking a peek at your watch, however.

Fanny May
09-15-2001, 10:40 PM
In many countries it is required to carry ID. In the old South Africa, one of the signs of repression was that people of color (Blacks and Asians and "Cape Colored") had to carry ID in white areas. They did, however, require whites to do the same in the "colored" areas. They tried to make it seem comparable to our Indian reservations or Australia's native set-asides.

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