Why Florida is a "Stop and Identify" State | Whether You Have to Show ID (2024)

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Why Florida is a "Stop and Identify" State | Whether You Have to Show ID (1)

Yes, Florida is generally considered a “stop and ID” state because of the effects of the “Stop and Frisk Law” found at Fla. Stat. §901.151, and the “loitering and prowling” statute found at Fla. Stat. §856.021(2).

Because of these statutes, a person might be required to identify themselves when requested by a law enforcement officer, but only if that officer reasonably suspects that a crime has been committed, is being committed, or is about to be committed.

The issue in these cases is whether such a detention or request violates the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.

In Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the U.S. Supreme Court found the U.S. Constitution allowed a police officer to temporarily detain a person based on “specific and articulable facts” establishing reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, is being committed, or is about to be committed.

That holding was extended in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 542 U.S. 177 (2004), when the U.S. Supreme Court held that a statute requiring a suspect to disclose their name during a valid Terry stop did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

Some stop-and-identify statutes were deemed unconstitutional under the void for vagueness doctrine when the statute was unclear on how a person must identify themselves when requested. Other problems include whether a person can refuse to identify themselves if doing so would be incriminating.

Generally, you are not necessarily required to show a photo identification card or driver’s license because stating your full name and date of birth is often deemed sufficient.

Problems With Refusing to Identify Yourself or Show Your ID

The information listed here should not be relied on when interacting with law enforcement. Instead, this article is intended to help you spot issues that might exist in your case if you are illegally detained.

Most of these issues can only be determined by the court in a hearing on a motion to suppress long after the detention has ended. As a practical matter, asserting the right to refuse to identify yourself is difficult for three reasons.

First, it is difficult to tell whether the request for your name and identification is being made during a consensual encounter or as part of a detention. For this reason, people sometimes say: “I don’t answer questions. Am I free to go?”

Second, the officer has no obligation to tell you the basis of their suspicion. Instead, if you are illegally detained, and evidence is gathered due to that illegal detention, your attorney should file a motion to suppress that evidence. At a hearing on the motion, the prosecutor would then have the burden of presenting evidence showing a legal basis for the stop, detention, and request for identification.

Third, if you refuse to identify yourself, that refusal might support the probable cause to arrest you for “loitering and prowling.” Although a warrantless arrest for most misdemeanors requires that each element of the crime was committed in the officer’s presence, an exception was created for more than 20 misdemeanors, including any criminal act under § 856.021 for loitering and prowling. See Fla. Stat. § 856.031.

Florida’s “Loitering and Prowling” Statute – Fla. Stat. §856.021(2)

Florida’s “loitering and prowling” statute under Fla. Stat. §856.021(2) provides a list of circ*mstances that may be considered in determining whether such alarm or immediate concern is warranted, including whether the person:

  • takes flight upon the appearance of a law enforcement officer;
  • refuses to identify himself or herself; or
  • manifestly endeavors to conceal himself or herself or any object.

The statute also provides that “a law enforcement officer shall, before any arrest for an offense under this section, afford the person an opportunity to dispel any alarm or immediate concern which would otherwise be warranted by requesting the person to identify himself or herself and explain his or her presence and conduct.”

Remember that once you show a photo identification card or driver’s license or state your full name and date of birth, you are not required to answer other questions, especially if doing so might be incriminating.

This article was last updated on Thursday, May 25, 2023.

Why Florida is a "Stop and Identify" State | Whether You Have to Show ID (2024)


Why Florida is a "Stop and Identify" State | Whether You Have to Show ID? ›

Florida is a stop and ID state, granting law enforcement officers the authority to request identification from individuals they reasonably suspect to be involved in criminal activity.

Can you refuse to show ID in Florida? ›

You are only expected to identify yourself to Florida law enforcement officers (police officers and Sheriff's deputies, not immigration or FBI agents) when you are stopped on suspicion of a crime or a traffic violation. If you don't have identification documents, you may choose to remain silent.

Do you have to show your ID to law enforcement in Florida? ›

Yes, Florida is generally considered a “stop and ID” state based on the interaction between the following statutes: the “Stop and Frisk Law” found at Fla. Stat. §901.151; and.

Do passengers have to show ID in a traffic stop in Florida? ›

As a passenger in a vehicle, if the police do not have reasonable suspicion to believe that you have committed a crime, it is legal to refuse to show identification.

Do you have to roll your window down for police in Florida? ›

Comply with Instructions. Before the officer arrives at the window, turn off the car and roll the windows down. Turn on the inner lights if it is dark and make sure to place your hands on the steering wheel.

Can a cop take your license Florida? ›

Florida law allows the arresting officer now to physically take possession of your driver's license if you've either refused a breath or blood test or you've taken the breath test and blown over the legal limit, which is . 08. If your license is valid, the ticket serves as a permit for 10 days.

What happens if you don't show ID? ›

If you are issued a summons or arrested, however, and you refuse to produce ID or tell officers who you are, the police may detain you until you can be positively identified.

Do you have a right to record police in Florida? ›

Anytime you are in an open public space (for example, most public roads, public parks, and public beaches) where other individuals can witness what is happening, you can record the police as long as you are not interfering with police activity.

Can you show a picture of your license to a police officer in Florida? ›

Summary. To conclude, traffic police won't accept a picture as proof of a valid driver's license, so remember to always carry the corresponding documents when driving a vehicle. In some situations, a scan might help to find information about you, but you will still get a fix-it ticket or a fine.

Does Florida ID for alcohol? ›

To purchase and consume alcohol, a person must be 21 years or older. Even a first violation constitutes a felony, facing a penalty of a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. A second violation carries a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison. Buying alcohol or attempting to buy alcohol with a forged ID is illegal.

Do you have to show ID in Florida to buy alcohol? ›

If you do not have valid ID, the bar staff may not serve you – even if you look over 21. This is because they can lose their jobs and even if they accidentally serve someone under 21 they can be fined up to $500, plus risk 60 days imprisonment.

Is it illegal to go around without ID? ›

It is absolutely not illegal to walk around on the street without ID in the United States of America. Under the 4th Amendment of the Constitution you are secure from unreasonable searches and providing your identification is a form of search.

Can bouncers take your ID in Florida? ›

While the use of fake IDs in Florida is relatively common, the ID will usually be confiscated by the bouncer or security of the bar or nightclub that an underage person is trying to gain access to.

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