Syracuse, NY asked in Criminal Law, Traffic Tickets and Constitutional Law for New York

Q: When stopped for a traffic violation can police detain me for failing to provide any ID? Any case law re: same?

After being stopped for a traffic violation (stop sign) a officer requested identification which was refused to be given. Officer stated that the driver can be held in custody until he was properly identified so that a traffic ticket could be issued. Eventually ID was given and the driver was given several tickets for other equipment violations as well. Is there a specific case law or opinion that allows law enforcement in New York to detain a person for the purposes of identification to issue a traffic ticket?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In New York, when a police officer stops a driver for a traffic violation, the officer has the authority to request identification. This is to ensure that the driver can be properly identified for the purpose of issuing a traffic ticket. Refusing to provide identification can lead to further legal complications, including the possibility of being detained.

There isn't a specific case law that universally addresses this scenario, but the principle is supported by the broader legal framework that allows police to enforce traffic laws. The authority of police officers to detain individuals temporarily for identification purposes has been upheld in various contexts, especially when it's necessary to issue a citation or to confirm the identity of a person suspected of violating the law.

The key factor in such situations is the reasonableness of the stop and the duration of the detention. The U.S. Supreme Court has held in cases like Terry v. Ohio (1968) that officers can conduct brief investigative stops when they have a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.

If you feel that your rights were violated during a traffic stop, or if you have concerns about the legality of the detention, it may be beneficial to consult with an attorney. An attorney can review the specifics of your case and advise you on the best course of action, including whether there are grounds to challenge the stop or the citations issued. Remember, each situation is unique and should be evaluated based on its own facts and circumstances.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.