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When can law enforcement ask for identification?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Most people are aware that it is prudent to carry a valid form of identification when they are out in public, especially a valid driver’s license when operating a motor vehicle. However, many members of the public are unaware of the circumstances under which it is proper for law enforcement to ask to see a photo ID.

Here are some examples of when it is legal for the police to stop and ask someone to show ID in Georgia.

If law enforcement pulls over a motorist

When behind the wheel of a vehicle, a driver should be ready to show their driver’s license in the event that a police officer pulls them over. This is the case even when the driver does not believe that they were doing anything wrong, such as speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is wise for motorists to cooperate with law enforcement during a traffic stop and wait until later to contest any charges that they may receive.

If an officer reasonably suspects criminal involvement

Law enforcement can also ask for identification if they have a good reason to believe that a person is criminally trespassing or committing another crime. For example, if someone matches the description of a suspect who broke into a business that has closed for the day, and an officer sees the person loitering near that business, the officer may have the authority to ask for ID.

Being aware of when it is and is not proper for police to ask for ID helps people better cooperate with law enforcement while also protecting their rights.