Newburgh, NY asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Social Security for New York

Q: Can a police officer ask for my social security number? The reason is that the system shows an overlap insurance.

He said i could be arrested because it’s considered a misdemeanor so i had to provide him with my social security number after he had my license and everything he needed.

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

A: No, a police officer typically cannot and should not ask for your social security number in a situation like this.

A few key points:

- There is no requirement for citizens to provide their SSN to a police officer who has already verified their identity through other means like a driver's license.

- An insurance coverage overlap alone would generally not be reasonable grounds for arrest or requiring someone's SSN. It may warrant a ticket at most.

- There are very limited situations where a police officer may request a SSN, such as during the booking process for an arrest on other legitimate grounds. But an insurance database issue would not qualify.

- Providing your SSN could expose you to potential identity theft if misused or improperly accessed. You should be careful about sharing it.

Unless the officer had grounds to lawfully arrest you and bring you in to custody for booking, demanding your SSN was likely out of policy. You can politely clarify why it is needed and decline providing it if there is no legitimate basis. If threatened with arrest without cause, contacting a supervisor may be appropriate.

1 user found this answer helpful

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.