When police ask you to show your identification, what do you do? Do you have to comply? The answer depends on why you are interacting with the police.
Consensual police encounters
If a police officer casually approaches you and engages with you in a consensual encounter where you are free to go and you are not detained, then you are under no obligation to show the police officer your ID. You can confirm this scenario by simply asking if you are free to go and invoking your right to silence.
Hawaii does not have a Stop and Identify Law, which requires people to identify themselves to police when requested by police. Though, if you are operating a vehicle or boarding a commercial vehicle, this does not apply, and you would need to provide identification.
What if I am detained?
If you are detained by the police, you are required to identify yourself to the police. This means that the police have a reasonable suspicion that you committed or were involved in a crime, and the police stopped you to investigate. The identification you must provide could be your ID, but if you do not have it, it must include your name and address, including any proof you have to prove your name and address.
What if I do not think it is reasonable?
This is where the conflicts that we often see on YouTube and TickTock often occur. These encounters usually escalate to physical altercations and arrests.
Unfortunately, even when the police are in the wrong, and even when the detainment is based on unreasonable suspicion, you may be forced to identify yourself, or face arrest.
You can film the encounter, and make it clear that you are detained. And, if you feel like your rights have been violated, you may have the right to make a complaint against the officer that violated your rights, in addition to a legal action against them as well. Plus, unlawful stops that lead to unlawful arrest can often be used to leverage dismissals and acquittals.
What if I am under arrest?
If the police have probable cause to believe that you committed or were involved in a crime, you will likely be arrested. In that case, just like if you were detained, you must provide your ID, or if you do not have it, your name, address and any proof of identity. Though, other than identifying information, remain silent and ask for an attorney.