Many people wonder about how much information they are required to provide the police. Generally, attorneys will advise you that less is always more, but what about when it comes to identifying yourself? While it is not always necessary to provide the police with your identity and other basics, it is always a criminal offense to supply them with false information related to your identity.
When Should I Provide the Police with my Identity?
Anytime that you are placed under lawful arrest, you are required to provide the arresting officer with your name, address, and date of birth. If you are simply being interviewed or detained – but are not under arrest – you are not legally required to provide the officer with your identifying information. Again, however, providing a false identity in such a situation is a crime.
Charges of Failure to Identify
As discussed, there are two situations in which you may face charges of failure to identify. These include:
You have been lawfully arrested, and you fail to provide the officer with your identity, or you provide the officer with false information related to your identity.
You are speaking to the police outside of an arrest – either voluntarily or while detained – and you provide the officer with false information related to your identity.
Providing False Information
You may find it hard to imagine a situation in which you would provide the police with false information about your identity, but it sometimes happens innocently enough. For example, if you call the police to report a suspected crime in your neighborhood, you may not want to provide your name because you are concerned about potential retaliation from the people about whom you called the police in the first place. Giving the police a false name is a bad idea, however, because it can come back to haunt you in the form of failure to identify charges. Far better to explain from the outset that you are a concerned citizen who is looking for anonymity.
If You Have Been Arrested
If you have been placed under lawful arrest, you are required to provide your name, your address, and your date of birth. You have heard, however, that you should remain silent in such situations, so you might be confused on the matter and refuse to offer up your identifying information. If this happens, you could face two separate charges – the original charge associated with your arrest and the charge of failure to identify. While it is always a good idea to remain silent about the charges at hand until you have an experienced criminal defense attorney present, you are legally required to provide the officer with your name, address, and date of birth.
Facing Criminal Charges? An Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you are facing criminal charges, you need professional legal counsel on your side, and attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, has extensive experience building strong defenses that help clients like you obtain their cases’ most positive outcomes. We are here for you, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.