Do I have to show my ID if I’m just walking down the street and not doing anything?

Everytime I walk somewhere late at night I have a backpack to carry things that I purchase from the store. I’m tired of getting stopped and showing my ID so they can run a check to see if I have any warrants. I’m just wondering if this is legal or not?

Asked on July 17, 2012 under Criminal Law, Texas


Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

By law, if officers request to see your identification, you are legally obligated to provide this information to them. In fact, if you refuse to provide your identification to the police, you can actually be arrested. With this being said, the police are not supposed to perform arbitrary and capricious stops of persons. It appears that their stopping you and requesting an i.d. from you is a pretextual stop to simply see if you have warrants in attempt to arrest you. My advice is to 1) keep a clean record with no warrants to avoid an arrest 2) file a complaint with either the police department or you cities law department (ombudsman) detailing the frequency and nature of these stops. This may send a message to those officers to stop with these pointless identification stops.

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