Understanding Failure to Identify in Texas


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The legal charge of failure to identify is a complicated but important concern. Ideas regarding when an individual is required to identify himself or herself to the police tend to range from the extremes of everyone must identify himself or herself in every situation to no one is ever legally required to identify himself or herself to the police. The truth, however, lies somewhere in the middle.

What Constitutes Failure to Identify?

The offense of failure to identify in the State of Texas includes the following scenarios:

  • If you Intentionally refuse to give your name, address of residence, and date of birth to a police officer after being lawfully arrested and requested to do so

  • If you Intentionally give a police officer a false name, address of residence, and/or date of birth after being requested to provide this information in a situation involving your arrest or detainment – or in a situation in which the police officer has a good reason for believing you witnessed a crime

Once Lawfully Arrested

Once you have been lawfully arrested, your right to remain silent – which is very real – does not cover your obligation to tell the police your name, address of residence, and date of birth – and you are required to do so. You are not, however, obligated to provide this information in every instance. If you are simply being questioned on the street, for example, there is no legal requirement to share these details. You are always, however, well advised to cooperate with the police – in an effort not to provoke an arrest in the first place. As such – depending upon the situation – it may be in your best interest to share this information even if you are not legally required to do so. Providing false information to the police (regardless of when you do it), on the other hand, is always verboten.

Attendant Consequences

If charged with failure to identify, the fines and penalties you face depend upon the circumstances involved. If you are convicted of failing to identify after being arrested, it is a Class C misdemeanor, which can carry a fine of up to $500. Intentionally providing false information after an arrest, on the other hand, is a Class B misdemeanor that is punishable by up to $2,000 in fines and by up to 6 months in jail. It is important to note that, although these charges are misdemeanors, they are serious charges that can haunt you into your future.

Seek the Experienced Legal Counsel of a Killeen Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you are facing a charge of failure to identify – or any other charge – your future is too important not to take the matter seriously from the outset. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a formidable criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record of helping clients like you obtain optimal case resolutions. We are on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 to learn more about how we can help today.


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