According to Article 38.02 of the Texas Penal Code, a person must identify themselves with a valid name, address, and date of birth to a police officer who has lawfully arrested them. Notice that the person must be under arrest for this to apply. In Texas, if you are not under lawful arrest, you do not have to identify yourself. The police do not have the right to demand your name or address without a reason. Generally, a police officer can only ask you to give your name and address if they believe you have committed some type of criminal offense. Absent that, you are not required to tell the police anything. If the state the encounter is a “detention” for whatever reason, comply with the officer’s request for identification.
If You Are Stopped, Questioned, and/or Frisked
- Police may stop and briefly detain you only if there is reasonable suspicion that you committed, are committing or are about to commit a crime.
- You should ask if you are under arrest or free to leave.
- Don’t bad-mouth a police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.