If you are stopped by a police officer in New Jersey or New York, you may wonder whether you have to show your ID or tell the officer your name. It is important to distinguish between a physical ID and verbal identification, like your name, address and birthday.
Usually, you are not legally required to carry an ID card when you are walking on the street, unless you are driving, traveling or voting. However, you may be legally required to verbally identify yourself to the police if they ask.
In New Jersey, there is no specific law that requires you to identify yourself, but there is a law that makes it a crime to obstruct, resist or oppose any law enforcement officer in the performance of their duties.
This means that if you refuse to give your name or provide false information, you may be charged with obstruction of justice, which is a disorderly person’s offense.
In New York, there is no specific law that requires you to identify yourself, but there is a law that makes it a crime to prevent or interfere with a public servant from performing their official duties. This means that if you refuse to give your name or provide false information, you may be charged with obstructing governmental administration, which is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Even when there is no law
Even if there is no law that requires identification, there may be situations where doing so is in your best interest. For example, if you are issued a summons or arrested and you refuse to produce an ID card or tell the officers who you are, the police may detain you until they can positively identify you.
This may prolong your time in custody. If you are suspected of committing a crime or being involved in a criminal investigation, refusing to identify yourself may raise suspicion and give the police probable cause to search or arrest you.
Therefore, if you are stopped by the police in New Jersey or New York, you should be aware of your rights and obligations regarding identification. You should also be respectful and cooperative with the officers, but do not consent to any searches or answer any questions without consulting with an attorney first.