California law: at what point is requiring ID legally justified?

I'm planning on going into law enforcement in Los Angeles, California and am looking into California law.

At what point, as a police officer, would actually REQUIRING ID from someone be legally justified?

From what I've read, for example, someone not driving a vehicle, walking on a sidewalk, shopping in a shopping mall or convenience store would not be required to show their identification to a police officer, unless it's legally justified.

At what point are civilians required to show law enforcement officers their identification? I would truly appreciate if you guys would cite links/sources to California law pages!

Help is appreciated. Thanks guys!


@ Bruce... What are some situations that include reasonable suspicion that would permit them to require the person to identify themself?

6 Answers

  • Bruce
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    You are never required to carry an ID unless you are driving. Demanding an ID is considered a temporary seizure, so the Fourth Amendment applies. That means it is the same for all states.

    The burden of proof required for an officer to demand ID is "reasonable suspicion". If you don't have a photo ID and the officer can not verify your identity, you can be detained until your identity is established.

    There are some states that have "failure to identify" laws, but the officer still needs a reasonable suspicion before that can be enforced.

    Source(s): Law enforcement since 1991
    • Login to reply the answers
  • <R>
    Lv 5
    8 years ago

    In California, generally, the only time a person is required to identify themselves is when stopped for a violation of the vehicle code while operating a motor vehicle and while being booked after arrest (including cite and release). Photo ID is only required for the vehicle stop.

    Penal code section 647(e) USED TO require persons to present "credible and reliable" identification to a peace officer upon demand if suspicious circumstances warranted it. However, the US Supreme Court ruled in the case of Kolender v. Lawson (461 U.S. 352 (1983)) that this requirement was unconstitutional and the law was struck down and eventually removed from the penal code.

    The more recent case of Hiibel v. Sixth District Court of Nevada (542U.S. 177 (2004)) ruled that states that have "stop and identify" statues can enforce them if based upon reasonable suspicion. However, the court did not rule that photo identification must be presented. Verbal identification is sufficient.

    Since California does not have a stop and identify statute anymore, there is no requirement that a person identify themselves during a detention. I've seen an argument that Penal Code section 148(a)(1), Resist, Delay or Obstruct a Peace Officer, could be be filed but this is untested and probably wouldn't pass constitutional muster in the way the law is written.

    Source(s): UC Berkeley Legal Studies
    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    They aren't

    You can be required to show ID for driving, fishing, or a number of other things.

    Then again, the police always have the option of taking you in for questioning if you refuse.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 8 years ago

    In California you are only requird to provide physical ID when operating a motor vehicle.

    Otherwise verbal ID is sufficient.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 8 years ago

    At what point does Romney show his tax returns.........

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 8 years ago

    Grow Up, dumbass

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.