Failure to ID Fort Worth

Failure to Identify in Texas

Django Unchained actress Danièle Watts made the news in 2014 after refusing to identify herself to an LAPD police officer. How would she have fared in Texas? The answer may surprise you.

Do I have to identify myself to the police in Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code 38.02, 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.

You can simply decline to provide your name and date of birth. This is why most officers who stop a vehicle ask for your license and registration, which provides them with the information they want without having to ask you for it. However, imagine a situation where an officer approaches you and you’re not driving a vehicle, if you are not under arrest, you are under no obligation to provide your name or other identifying information.

You do not have to provide your name, date of birth, or address to an officer unless you are under lawful arrest. In other words, even if you are lawfully detained, but not under arrest, you are not required to provide officers with identifying information.

Is it an offense to fail to identify yourself to the police? | Failure to Identify

If you are under arrest, and the arrest is lawful, it is a crime to not provide identifying information. Failure to identify yourself when an officer has lawfully arrested you is a Class C misdemeanor offense in Texas, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500. This same offense is a Class B misdemeanor if you fail to identify yourself to an officer who has lawfully arrested you, if at the time of the arrest there was also a warrant out for you.

Is it an offense to lie about who you are? | Failure to Identify

In Texas, it is a crime to intentionally give an officer a false or fictitious identifying information when the officer has:

  • lawfully arrested you;
  • lawfully detained you; or
  • has good reason to believe you are a witness to a crime.

Assuming there is not already a warrant out for your arrest, this is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. Notice the crime here wasn’t failing to provide identifying information, it was falsifying the information that was provided.

What if there is a warrant out for your arrest? | Failure to Identify – Fugitive

If you are under arrest, and the arrest is lawful, it is a crime to not provide identifying information. Failure to identify yourself when an officer has lawfully arrested you is a Class A misdemeanor offense in Texas, if at the time of the arrest there was already a warrant out for your arrest.

In Texas, it is also a crime to intentionally give an officer a false or fictitious identifying information, while there is a warrant out for your arrest, when the officer has:

  • lawfully arrested you;
  • lawfully detained you; or
  • has good reason to believe you are a witness to a crime.

Assuming there is not already a warrant out for your arrest, this is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.

If you have been charged with failure to identify, or failure to identify fugitive in north Texas, call us at 817-203-2220.

About the Author
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Benson Varghese

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Benson Varghese is the Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a state and federal practitioner who has handled thousands criminal cases and taken over 100 cases to trial by jury. Benson is frequently called upon to handle cases that require a high degree of knowledge in technology, scientific evidence, forensic evidence, as well as serious intoxication cases. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.