can a cop ask for i.d. without probable cause?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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can a cop ask for i.d. without probable cause?

I was at the store meeting a friend and a cop just came up to me for no reason
and asked me for i.d. I ended up having a warrant but he didn’t have a reason for
confronting me in the first place. can he get away with doing that?

Asked on December 26, 2018 under Criminal Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

In your state (Utah), the police can only stop you and ask for your ID if they have a reasonable suspicion you were engaged in some criminal or illegal act. Below is the relevant Utah statute, so you can see the operative language. Therefore, the stop you describe appears to be illegal; you may wish to speak to a criminal defense attorney about whether and how that illegality may help you in light of the warrant.
77-7-15.  Authority of peace officer to stop and question suspect -- Grounds.      A peace officer may stop any person in a public place when the officer has a reasonable suspicion to believe the person has committed or is in the act of committing or is attempting to commit a public offense and may demand the person's name, address, and an explanation of the person's actions.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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