Can Police REQUIRE You To Identify Yourself?

This is Dennis Boren, criminal defense attorney and former felony prosecutor. And today I want to talk to you about whether or not you have to identify yourself if you’re approached by a police officer.

This information may never apply to you, but as they say, knowledge is power. And if a friend or family member or anybody you care about finds himself in a situation where they could use it, you may be able to get them this information which could potentially help them.


If a police officer approaches you, do not flee. They can ask you for your identification, ask you who you are, and to present some documentation. However, you do not have to provide this. It is not required in Texas. However, in some states it is.


Of course, if you’re stopped in a traffic stop situation, you’re going to end up having to present your driver’s license. They can indeed require that which is going to end up identifying you by the nature of the event. Your address your name and all that information is on your driver’s license.

On the other hand, the passengers in your car, that’s all the folks that aren’t driving, do not have to verbally tell the police officer who they are, or present any kind of identification.


Now, if you’re ever arrested, you do have to identify yourself. Do not give a false name, and do not present false identifying documentation like a fake driver’s license or something like that. Even if the charge which they stopped you for is not taken or is not valid, you would have created a criminal situation by using false identifying information or giving a false name.

As always, if you’ve got questions about this subject or any others that are related, please reach out to me. I’ll be happy to answer those. And as I say at the end of every one of these videos, especially in this kind of situation is, if you have a smartphone, turn on your vocal audio app, or your video app, which is really better, to document what’s going on. It’s your right, and that will protect you.

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