When Do I need to Identify Myself and Show ID?
This is the law in Ohio and what you do and don't have to do, but does not always express our views on the best way to handle a police encounter. For our guidelines on how to interact with Law Enforcement please click here. Again we have highlighted the main points and included commentary at the end.
2921.29 Failure to disclose personal information.
(A) No person who is in a public place shall refuse to disclose the person’s name, address, or
date of birth, when requested by a law enforcement officer who reasonably suspects either of the following:
(1) The person is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a criminal offense.
(2) The person witnessed any of the following:
(a) An offense of violence that would constitute a felony under the laws of this state;
(b) A felony offense that causes or results in, or creates a substantial risk of, serious physical harm to another person or to property;
(c) Any attempt or conspiracy to commit, or complicity in committing, any offense identified in division (A)(2)(a) or (b) of this section;
(d) Any conduct reasonably indicating that any offense identified in division (A)(2)(a) or (b) of this section or any attempt, conspiracy, or complicity described in division (A)(2)(c) of this section has been, is being, or is about to be committed.
(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of failure to disclose one’s personal information, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
(C) Nothing in this section requires a person to answer any questions beyond that person’s name, address, or date of birth. Nothing in this section authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest a person for not providing any information beyond that person’s name, address, or date of birth
or for refusing to describe the offense observed.
(D) It is not a violation of this section to refuse to answer a question that would reveal a
person’s age or date of birth if age is an element of the crime that the person is suspected of committing.
Basically you can ask that officer who asks for your ID what crime they suspect you of committing. If they can not answer or do not suspect you of any offense besides people being alarmed over you exercising your right, or the fact that you are exercising that right, you can refuse to provide them with identification and simply ask if you are being detained or if you are free to go. More on this in the Encounters with Law Enforcement Section.
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