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When Refusing To Provide Identifying Information While Stopped Is A Misdemeanor

Indiana law criminalize the failure of a driver to provide identification information (e.g. a driver’s license) under Ind. Code § 34-28-5-3.5.   The statute read as follows:

A person who knowingly or intentionally refuses to provide either the person’s:

(1) name, address, and date of birth;  or

(2) driver’s license, if in the person’s possession;

to a law enforcement officer who has stopped the person for an infraction or ordinance violation commits a Class C misdemeanor.

“A person engages in conduct ‘intentionally’ if, when he engages in the conduct, it is his conscious objective to do so.” Ind. Code § 34-41-2-2(a). “A person engages in conduct ‘knowingly’ if, when he engages in the conduct, he is aware of a high probability that he is doing so.” Ind. Code § 35-41-2-2(b). 

So if you are a driver and you were stopped by a law enforcement officer for an infraction or ordinance violation, remember that failing to provide your identification information to the officer may result in a criminal prosecution.

However, pursuant to Starr v. State, 928 N.E.2d 876 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010), the statute does not apply to passengers, at least to a passenger who did not cause the stop.  While the Good Faith Belief statute allows a law enforcement officer to detain you if the officer believes in good faith that you committed an infraction or ordinance violation.  However, as a passenger, you will most likely not have committed a infraction.  Unless there is some reasonable suspicion that you as a passenger committed an infraction or ordinance violation, then there is no obligation that you identify yourself or be subject to criminal prosecution for failing to do so.

But why refuse to provide the law enforcement officer your identification information? Well, that is for another day.


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