The following questions were submitted to John Roska, an attorney/writer whose weekly newspaper column, "The Law Q&A," ran in the Champaign News-Gazette (some edits have been made with the permission of the author).
Is there a law that requires you to carry any kind of ID card with you? If I carry an ID, do I have to show it if the police ask for it? If I don’t have to show an ID, can I refuse to identify myself?
There is no state of Illinois or domestic passport law. You cannot be forced to show an ID.
You can be required to identify yourself only if the police reasonably suspect that you are in the process of committing a crime or committed a crime and:
- You are in a public place;
- The police think you are part of a crime; and
- The police tell you that they are police.
The police can suspect you of any crime. The crime can be a past, present, or future offense.
Once the police identify themselves, they can stop and question any person in a public place that they suspect is involved in a crime (past or present). If you are not under arrest, all questioning should occur in the general area where you were stopped and should be for a reasonable amount of time.
The police can ask for the following:
- Your name
- Your address
- A reason for your actions
You have to give only your name. You can then remain silent, ask for your lawyer, or provide more information and show an ID. Many say that it is best to give more information because things may go more smoothly. Others say it is a breach of privacy.
If the stop includes a frisk and search while questioning you, the police officers should provide you with a stop receipt. The stop receipt will include the officers’ name and badge numbers along with the reason for the stop.
You can refuse to give your name when:
- You are not in a public place;
- The police are just making conversation; or
- The police do not think you are part of a crime.
Note: It’s different if you’re driving. Drivers must carry a license. They must show it upon request.
Updated: June 2017