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Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 3 years ago

When can a cop legally detain me and ask for my ID?

Okay so heres my situation. I am a busy man throughout the day and so late at night I always go for a run around the block. The other night I was sprinting and a cop comes up to me and asks me wht Im doing and I reply "Why are you asking?" He explains that it looks suspicious that Im sprinting down the road in the middle of the night. I respond "Am I being detained?" and he says yes and so I ask "WHat crime do you suspect me of commiting?" And he fails to say. He asks for my ID and I refuse since he is detaining me for something without being able to tell me what crime Im suspected of committing. Can a cop detain me if he doesnt suspect me of committing a crime

8 Answers

  • 3 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    He said, in effect, that you are being detained. That means, of course, that you were not free to go. He would use the argument of "reasonable suspicion." If you tried to leave and he used force, then I suspect a judge would side with him. It is stacked against you in our Just-Us system.

    The same thing happened to me twice. I was not even sprinting. I was jogging with weights. It was in my neighborhood at midnight. I jogged at night because I worked until 10pm. The first time I capitulated and gave my ID. I was indignant the second time and did not. I asked if there was a problem. I said I would not identify myself and the cop literally shrugged his shoulders and drove off.

    It's tough because the courts give cops the benefit of the doubt. Part of that is they work with them day-in-and-day out. They don't have to look YOU in the eye every day, so guess who they will side with.

    If you tell them you are jogging, then that should be enough. I'm not sure that you want to do that, but practically, things are stacked against you in the street. If you want to save face, then you could say, "I am jogging. Does it look like I am doing something other than jogging?" They hate questions. Put it back on them. They still, however, have the de facto power to give you a hard time. It depends on how long you want to sit there.

    Here is an excerpt from the legal publication NOLO. It's an authoritative source. I hate to say it, but it's really slanted in their favor. That because, again, they get the benefit of the doubt.



    Stopping and Questioning People on the Street

    Must I answer a police officer's questions? Can I walk away?

    Updated March 11, 2016

    Even without any reason to suspect that you've done anything wrong, a police officer can approach you to ask questions and ask to search you or your objects (such as a purse or briefcase). As long as the officer doesn’t suggest that you are legally compelled to talk or agree to a search, the officer has done nothing wrong. (United States v. Drayton, 536 U.S. 194 (2002).) At the same time, you generally aren't required to answer a police officer’s questions or allow an officer to search your person or your belongings.

    (This article discusses general constitutional principles; make sure to check out our note on the importance of state law.)

    Can I Walk Away?

    Unless a police officer has “probable cause” to make an arrest, “reasonable suspicion” to conduct a “stop and frisk,” or a warrant, a person generally has the legal right to walk away from the officer. However, there's often at the time of the encounter no real way to know what information the officer is relying on. An officer might have information that provides a valid legal basis to make an arrest or to conduct a stop and frisk, even if the person stopped is actually innocent of any wrongdoing. So, an officer might be justified in forcibly detaining an innocent person who starts to leave the scene of an interview.

    Common sense and self-protection suggest that people who intend to walk away from police should first make sure that the officer does not intend to arrest or detain them. One might say, “Officer, I’d prefer not to talk to you right now. You won’t try to stop me from leaving, right?” If the officer replies that you are not free to leave, you should remain at the scene and leave the issue of whether the officer had the necessary legal basis to detain you for the courts to determine at a later time.

    (For more information on speaking to the police, including what can happen if you say nothing, see Invoking Your Right to Remain Silent.)

    More at link in comments.


    • Wyoming
      Lv 7
      3 years agoReport

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  • 3 years ago

    Some states allow their police to stop and do an ID check of anyone they want for any reason. Other states require officers to have a valid reason before demanding to see ID.

    Without knowing what state you're in, any answer here would be just garbage.

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    3 years ago

    yes he can, an if you dont give it to him you probably can expect to see more of him an the police station too, so do your self a big favor an do as he asks, the quicker you do the faster you will be on your way,,,,

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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    Any time they feel the need. If you dont' like it, tough. Just deal with it and the better your attitude and you fully cooperating will make it all that much easier on you.

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  • 3 years ago

    Yes, until you produce ID. How was he to know if you just robbed a house or something and are running away?

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  • 3 years ago

    You were not being detained, were you placed in mechanical restraints? That is being detained

    The officer has every right to ask you to provide ID in that situation

    You are a person running down the middle of the street at night. That is suspicious activity in any town, when you started to act like you were a college law professor, that made the officer even more suspicious.

    Who said you committed a crime? He has to right to know what a person is doing and who that person is that is running in the middle of the night, that is what you are paying taxes for, so the police know who is in the neighborhood at midnight.

    All you have had to do is provide what he was asking for and been done with it, he did his job and you made it easier.

    For all he knew you were a rapist running away from a crime scene, you are an escaped convict, you just robbed a 7-11, you are an escaped criminal. He had the right to ask you, in fact it is his job to do so, and you as a citizen of the town should be thankful that your police officers are doing a good job by asking people running down the street in the middle of the night are not criminals.

    You sound like the type of person that if your house was broken into and people were harmed, raped or killed, you would be complaining about how the police could have stopped it by stopping people walking around at midnight, you would be saying they are not doing there jobs, you would be saying if the police saw this guy in the neighborhood why didn't they at least stop him and get his name?

    But you get stopped and now all of a sudden you don't like it, they are picking on you, they had no right to ask you anything. I Bet your neighbors are glad the police are doing their jobs, and you are glad they are doing their jobs, just as long as it does not inconvenience you

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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    I call the cops on people I see running in my neighborhood in the middle of the night. Heck, even if you're walking. I've also been in your situation - I used to walk home from work at night. I've always carried my id so I can prove I am who I say I am and have never had a problem when stopped.

    Carrying id is also plus just in case you wind up dead. Better chance of iding you and notifying your relatives.

    Up to you. You want to go to the station till they figure out who you are? Great. Be an asshat about it.

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  • Ryan
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    PMack apparently doesn't have jerk cops in his town. Those are the only questions you need to ask. "Am I under arrest? Am I being detained? Am I free to go?" They can detain you without a charge for 24 hours.

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