If you are sitting in your car in a public parking lot reading a book can a cop ask to see your license?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If you are sitting in your car in a public parking lot reading a book can a cop ask to see your license?

I was sitting in my car not running at a golf driving range parking lot
reading a book it was raining so I couldn’t hit balls today on my lunch hour
when a cop knocked on my window and asked my what I was doing. I
answered ‘reading a book’. She then asked to see my drivers license. I asked
why and she said just let me see your license. I asked why again and she said
she needed to see it. I didn’t want to give it to her but I finally relented. She
returned it after a few minutes in her car.

My question is does a cop have the right to see my license when I’m just
sitting in my car not running doing nothing but reading a book?

Asked on March 23, 2016 under General Practice, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she can do this because by your own admission, you were parked in what is not a true public parking lot, such as one in downtown, where anyone can park for any reason, but a parking lot for a driving range when you were not using the facilities and the weather didn't even really permit use. The driving range's lot is only for people using its facilities; since you were not, your behavior was automatically somewhat inappropriate and suspicious.

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