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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
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Experience:  Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.
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When does an Indiana State Trooper, Indiana County Deputy or

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When does an Indiana State Trooper, Indiana County Deputy or Indiana Municipal Officer of the Court have the authority to legally demand persons to Identify themselves? If it is a legal demand Are the choices only Identify or Possibly be charged with Obstruction of Justice?

My goal is to exercise all my rights at all times. I wish to be secure in my person, personal effects and personal property from unwarranted searches.

I believe that our "legal" name and personal information are deemed our personal property and are protected from illegal searches under Indiana and US Constitutions. Can you confirm paragraph?
Welcome and thank you for your question!

What is your source of information for the paragraph you've cited?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Based off my own researches, based off the wording of both Indiana and US Constitutions, because I am not property of State or Federal Governments and because I am not property of Counties or Corporate Cities it seems logical to me that my name is XXXXX XXXXX



Thank you. Let me ask you a question from a different angle. At the time of the questioning, did you commit a crime and -- by answering the officer/trooper's question about your name, would your answer become an admission to a crime?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am trying to find the parameters in which I must answer to "Identify" questions by Law Enforcement Personnel. I understand that Indiana is a "Stop and ID" state. I am wanting to understand what would warrant Law Enforcement personnel to invoke their authority regarding identifying persons. In what situations do they have authority and which do they not have authority to identify persons.


To be clear I am not citing a situation that has happened to me lately. There is no case on going that I am discussing. I am simply looking to be made aware of my own rights as well as the Authority of the Law Enforcement Personnel to Demand ID as well as when those Demands are unlawful.


I can for see myself not wanting to give out my information if I am passenger in an Automobile at a police stop, check point or possibly a scene of an accident. I can for see myself not wanting to give out my information when I am walking down the street/sidewalk. I can for see myself not wanting to give out my personal information if a Law Enforcement officer comes to my address to ask questions.


To answer your questions directly.

No crimes were committed.

My answer would not be an admission to a crime.

*However, If my answer were an admission to a crime I would not answer and be within my rights.


Thank you for your help!



Law enforcement can ask at any time. The only time you have the right to refuse to answer their question is if your answer would result in you admitting to a crime.

In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 542 U.S. 177 (2004), the Supreme Court held that the name disclosure did not violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. The Hiibel Court also held that, because Hiibel had no reasonable belief that his name would be used to incriminate him, the name disclosure did not violate the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination; however, the Court left open the possibility that Fifth Amendment right might apply in situations where there was a reasonable belief that giving a name could be incriminating.

You can learn more about the Hiibel decision here:

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You state that Law Enforcement can ask at any time and that I must comply unless I would be admitting to a crime.


Law Enforcement doesn't have to have reasonable suspicion of a crime to demand for me to Identify myself? I understand that any body can ask for anything at any time. Asking is not what I'm discussing. Legally having authority to demand ID is the subject.


So Law Enforcement can walk right up to me, give me no reasons and demand me to identify my self and I must comply?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Relist: Inaccurate answer. "Starr V. Indiana" States that there are at minimum some guidelines regarding when I must comply with Law Enforcement's request to identify myself. I asked for a detailed answer and promised to pay for one. I believe I was given a vague answer when answer came back that only time I was legally not obliged to Identify myself was when I would be violating my 5th amendment rights.

In view of the fact that you've obviously read the STARR case, your question makes no sense. STARR is in clear. Are you asking for a list of every possible circumstance under which you can be asked for identification by a PO? Please clarify what you are asking for, and we'll try to assist.
I am happy to address your follow-up concerns.

Let me be clear, and the U.S. Supreme Court is clear: you have a Fifth Amendment Right to refuse to answer the officer's question if your answer would result in you admitting to the commission of a crime.

With all due respect, I understand why the Starr decision is of interest to you; however, there is a difference between whether or not a state criminal law may be in play and whether or not the law itself is unconstitutional.

In Starr, the court simply found that under those facts, the statute did not come into play. The court in the Starr decision never made a determination about constitutionality of the statute. The Starr court didn't have to address the constitutional issue because they first decided that the statute didn't apply in those given facts.

The state-court Starr decision does not impact my original answer.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. Thank you for your business!

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I only read "Starr V. Indiana" after you referred me to the Hiibel case. The Link to Hiibel and a subsequent search got me to the Starr case. So I was unaware of Starr V Indiana when I originally asked my question.


Thank you for the link as that site is very informative.


I mentioned Starr V. Indiana because when I read the Decision I became aware of a "Good Faith" obligation of LEO's in Indiana. If I understand correctly a LEO must in "good faith" believe that a statute or ordinance infraction has occurred to Lawfully Demand that a person Identify Themselves.


This is all I'm after. I want to know when I can refuse to ID myself. It seems that there are some parameters or protocol out there that a LEO must work with before Lawfully Demanding a person Identify themselves.


Can you confirm this? Can you cite the law which discusses Good Faith and perhaps give your interpretation?


Or, am I incorrect and a LEO can at any time with no good faith belief, reasonable suspicion or any other basis or parameters Lawfully demand a citizen ID themselves. To me this just Smacks of being Unconstitutional and again I am reading and finding information which suggests that there are indeed guidelines that must first be meet.


I'm not trying to be difficult. I only opened my question up to other experts because the timer had ticked down and I imagined you were busy with other questions. Plus getting other opinions can't be a bad thing. Plus a option box appeared on my screen for me to do so and I really didn't give it much thought about how this could possibly insult you or your colleagues.


Thank you for your help so far and I'm eager to hear your response!



Dumb Guy Who Wants to Understand His Rights

Thank you for the follow-up. I can appreciate the fact that you would like a bright-line of constitutionally-tested standards.

However, at this time, there is only one and it is that officers can ask at any time. The only time that you can constitutionally-refuse to answer is when your answer may result in you admitting to a crime.

Now, what can the consequences be when an officer asks for your name, and that answer won't result in you admitting to a crime? It depends. Nothing may happen. Or, you could be charged with violating a state or local law. If charged with such a crime, do you have the right to fight the charges and make law for the argument that you have a constitutional right of free speech to remain silent?

Yes, you have the right to make such a legal defense. The law right now is not certain.

You will be interested to know, however, that in January of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Salinas v. Texas, No. 12-246. That case will address a major open question in the court’s Fifth Amendment jurisprudence: May the failure to answer a police officer’s questions before an arrest be used against a defendant at trial?

The Supreme Court has said the amendment’s protection against self-incrimination applies after arrest and at trial. But it has never decided, in the words of a 1980 decision, “whether or under what circumstances pre-arrest silence” in the face of questioning by law enforcement personnel is entitled to protection.

So, the best answer I can give you is to stay tuned to see how the U.S. Supreme Court will handle the Salinas case. It's scheduled for argument in April 2013.

You can bookmark this page to keep an eye on the case:

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That is interesting! I will follow that case.


So, no discussion about definition of Good Faith. No confirmation regarding if "Good Faith Belief" is in fact protocol which must be meet prior to Lawfully Ordering a Citizen to ID themselves?


This is a pretty cool video about a LEO standing up for a citizen's Constitutional Rights. I'd urge you to watch the whole video if you have the time. If not please at least view starting at 10 min mark. At 10min 20sec mark the Deputy states that the Cameraman "is not doing anything wrong and if I ask him for his ID he does not have to give it to me".


New York is a Stop and Identify State. Is this cop just making up stuff to get out of the Jam and settle things down a bit or does this part of the video, like other videos I've seen and cases I've read, suggest that there needs to be evidence, a good faith belief, reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed, already committed or about to be committed to permit the LEO to legally Demand ID. Again, I understand that anyone can ask for anything at anytime, regardless if you are LEO, Citizen, President, Illegal Allien, Etc.

Thank for sharing the video. Please understand that there can be a difference between what a police department's internal policy is, what a local law is, what a state law is, and what the U.S. Supreme Court has declared to be constitutional. They are not always the same standard. Just like, for example not all burgers are the same. Not all french fries are the same. When you get to the details (e.g., brands), there are differences.

As the Supreme Court has said before, however, an officer can ask anyone at any time for their name/ID. The consequences of what can legally happen upon a refusal has not been decided with finality by the courts.

~~ J.B.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, I certainly am understanding what you mean about the varieties of Laws. Unfortunately it seems you have to be a lawyer or devote years of study to be able to begin to understand how answering a question might impact the rest of your life. What a Country!! =)


Just found this.


About 1/4 way down the page you will find the below copied Indiana Code regarding Detention and refusal to ID.


IC 34-28-5-3
Sec. 3. Whenever a law enforcement officer believes in good faith that a person has committed an infraction or ordinance violation, the law enforcement officer may detain that person for a time sufficient to:
(1) inform the person of the allegation;
(2) obtain the person's:
(A) name, address, and date of birth; or
(B) driver's license, if in the person's possession; and
(3) allow the person to execute a notice to appear.
As added by P.L.1-1998, SEC.24.

IC 34-28-5-3.5
Refusal to identify self
Sec. 3.5. A person who knowingly or intentionally refuses to provide either the person's:
(1) name, address, and date of birth; or
(2) driver's license, if in the person's possession;
to a law enforcement officer who has stopped the person for an infraction or ordinance violation commits a Class C misdemeanor.



This seems to me to state that The LEO encounter must pass on from the Consensual discussion phase and proceed into the Detention phase of the Stop in order for LEO to legally Order a Citizen to ID themselves. The above Indiana Code ( or is it statute?) discusses Good Faith Belief of an infraction or ordinance violation to initiate the Detention phase of the encounter.


Am I wrong? Through my ignorance of the law am I making a mistake and not reading the correct Codes?


Can you define "Good Faith" within the context of these Codes? I have looked and can't seem to find one. I'm sure I just don't know the proper place to look.

You are reading the correct code/state law adopted in Indiana. Not all states have such a law and that particular law has not been tested in the courts for its constitutionality.

Good faith is an abstract and comprehensive term that encompasses a sincere belief or motive without any malice or the desire to defraud others. It derives from the translation of the Latin term bona fide, and courts use the two terms interchangeably.

~~ J.B.
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience: Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.
JB Umphrey and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the Information and for sharing that Supreme Court Case with me.



You are very welcome! Best wishes to you.

~~ J.B.