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Don't Carry ID - Don't Identify Yourself to the Police

There is no general requirement in the United States for citizens to carry identification. So, why are you carrying ID, and why are you showing your ID to anyone who asks "Got your ID on ya"? With a few exceptions, even the police cannot require that you present your ID just because they demand "show me your ID".
A police officer can require that you show your ID if you are driving a vehicle or in certain cases involving alcohol, marijuana, or carrying a concealed firearm:

- When the subject is a driver stopped for a traffic infraction investigation (RCW 46.61.021) failure to provide identification is a misdemeanor
- When the subject is attempting to purchase liquor (RCW 66.20.180)
- When the subject is carrying a concealed pistol (RCW 9.41.050) failure to provide CPL is a civil infraction

but in almost every other case you are NOT REQUIRED to identify yourself to a police officer, nor can you be arrested or charged with obstruction for refusing to do so.


"Defendant could not be arrested for refusing to give law enforcement officer his name pursuant to a statute prohibiting obstruction of public servant in discharge of his official powers." West's RCWA 9A.76.020(3).-State v. Hoffman, 664 P.2d 1259, 35 Wash. App. 13, 16, 664 P.2d 1259 (1983).;

"Probable cause is not established by failing to present identification upon request by a law enforcement officer, . . ." Moya v. United States , 761 F.2d 322, at 325-326 (Sept. 21, 1984).

"Indeed, there is no general requirement in this country for citizens to carry any identification." State v. Barwick, 66 Wn. App. 706 at 709, 833 P.2d 421 (July 30, 1992).

The Seattle Police Department Manual, Section 6.220 - Voluntary Contacts, Terry Stops & Detentions - states:

5. Officers Cannot Require Subjects to Identify Themselves or Answer Questions on a Terry Stop

During a Terry stop, officers may request identification; however, subjects are not obligated to provide identification or information upon request.

(POL-3) Officers may not transport a person to any police facility or jail for the sole purpose of identifying them unless they have probable cause for arrest.

Illegally gathering information about American citizens, maintaining unauthorized records and databases, conducting illegal investigations, manufacturing false evidence, and submitting false police reports and perjured testimony is an on-going problem in many police departments. Anytime you present your ID to the police, your personal identifying information may be entered into one of these databases.

If you feel that you must carry some form of ID, consider a US Passport card. There is no question that this is valid government ID, but it is not linked to local police databases and does not contain your address. If you feel you must present ID to the police then provide a passport card and shut up. The police are detaining you, and you should never talk to the police under these circumstances without your attorney present.

The following web-sites can help you know how to properly respond when confronted by corrupt police.

When Can Police Ask For ID?

What to Do If You Are Stopped By The Police (ACLU of Washington)


I said no - when Homeland Security Police asked to see my ID 30.Jan.2020 18:10

joe anybody

Telling a police office "No you can't see my ID" is possible in many instances.
But it also depends on "why they are asking for your ID" in the first place.

If they are just fishing, your not required by law to have to show them your ID, but if they suspect that you are involved in a crime or about to commit a crime they can ask / demand to see your ID. If you say "no" at that point and refuse to identify yourself "they could haul you in to try to identify you at the jail. (And driving a motor vehicle it is also permissible for the cops to ask the driver for his ID when pulled over while operating the vehicle.}

When a cop is asking for your ID, they will have to provide you (and the courts) as to a "reason why"... if you take the issue to court or find your self arrested, they will need to provide probable cause. They can ask you, by having a friendly legal "mere conversation" ...but you can walk away and do not have to even talk to them if its not a stop and detainment. (Am I free to go or are you detaining me?)

I was filming a protest in downtown Portland in 2010 by the Federal Courthouse at Pioneer Square and it compelled a homeland security cop to ask, to see my ID, I politely told him no. He did not arrest me (I was not committing any crime) and then he acknowledged that I had the right to refuse. Of course there was a little bit of a word game back in forth between us like the cop saying "I think people who wont identify themselves have something to hide ...etc"

I filmed the ID interaction and its on my youtube channel here:  https://youtu.be/KwSv2jHZ5pU

**(quote form the YT video description)
In spite of the friendliness between the officer and I, the down side to this ID request tactic is that many folks don't know they have the right to counter the officers request, and when an officer asks they want to comply so they don't get arrested.

The Homeland Security officer really had no reason other than "mere conversation" to ask me for ID... (and) to take advantage of my ignorance if given the chance. He was polite and so was I, but I feel this type of info gathering dragnet is sneaky, intimidating, and not what I want law enforcement to be doing to joe anybody public.

just Don't Talk To the Police ever. 31.Jan.2020 08:52



watch this video (from 2012), pass it on :
Don't Talk to the Police

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Proper answer to the question 16.Feb.2020 19:13


When cops ask you if you have any ID, just say "about what"?