Do You Need To Show Identification To The Police When Driving?


  • Man called in from Alabama wondering that if he is in the passenger seat of a car, does he have to show his I.D. to the police officer
  • A second attorney only licensed in Florida said you absolutely should give over your I.D. as a passenger, and Larry agreed it is the same in the state of Alabama
  • Officers must need some indication of a crime to conduct an investigation
  • You can always challenge an unlawful stop
  • No reason to resist an officer, just comply and hand over your ID


Larry Perry: We have Charlie on the line. What are your legal questions tonight?

Caller:  If you’re riding in the passenger seat of someone’s car and you get pulled over and the officers ask for your ID, do you have to show it?

Rusty (Florida Attorney): I’m a Florida attorney so I can’t give you exact advice on the state of Alabama. However, if the situation were here in Florida, I would tell you to absolutely give the law enforcement officer your ID. They have to have some indication that there’s a crime or that they’re doing some investigation to get it from you. The key here is they don’t necessarily need to tell you what they’re getting your ID for. They can charge you with another crime called resisting an officer without violence during the lawful performance of a Duty, which is a misdemeanor, so you probably just don’t want to pick that with a law enforcement officer and hand it over. If for some reason they shouldn’t have done that and there’s a charge that comes out of it, you know, you have your attorney on the back.

Larry Perry: That’s the answer that you’re going to get in the state of Alabama as well. It may be that you have the right under the constitution to not show your ID and there are many situations like this. Say a driver has been pulled over for DUI and they open up the door and it smells kind of funky? Now you better give over your ID. The best part of this is to give your ID, and allow your attorney to defend or allow a motion to suppress evidence. If it’s an unlawful stop or ask for your ID, you can challenge it. An officer could be in the wrong, but do you really want to run the risk of hiring a lawyer over something that could have been as simple as handing over your ID?

Rusty (Florida Attorney): I agree with you completely. One of the things that we see a lot is the officer will say that they smell marijuana, which is always interesting, especially when they don’t find marijuana. That gives them a lawful search of the car, the inside of the car and everyone and everything in it. If you’re getting in the way, that could be a very bad thing. You just don’t know where it’s where a stop is going to lead.