Saint Paul, MN asked in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Minnesota

Q: When pulled over by the police in MN. If Police ask for ID. Can I "Present" my ID or do I have to physically "Give" ID?

Can I present my ID by holding it against the window where they can easily read and see it? Or do I physically have to hand over my ID where the cop can walk away with it.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Minnesota, when a police officer pulls you over and requests your ID, the law generally expects you to hand it over to them. While you might feel more comfortable just presenting it against the window, the officer has the authority to physically inspect your ID. This is part of their routine procedure to verify the information and run checks if necessary.

Holding your ID against the window may not suffice for the officer's requirements. They need to be able to read it clearly and potentially input information into their system, which usually requires physically holding the ID. Refusing to hand it over when asked could lead to further complications or even legal issues.

It's important to comply with reasonable requests from law enforcement during a traffic stop. If you have concerns about handing over your ID, you can politely express them to the officer. However, remember that cooperation can often lead to a smoother and quicker resolution of the traffic stop.

If you feel that your rights were violated during a traffic stop, or if you have concerns about how the situation was handled, you can later seek advice or file a complaint. But during the stop, it's usually in your best interest to comply with such requests from law enforcement.

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