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Old 04-25-14, 09:47 PM   #1
KGood
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Stopped by the police. What are my rights?

I was heading home from work tonight at 11 and my taillight was aimed off center so I stopped to fix it. Well I stopped just a foot off the road in a business's driveway. The sheriff passed and then did a U-turn and stopped me. I told him I was fixing my taillight. He asked for my ID and I said no I don't want to give it to you because I haven't broken any laws. He said he'd arrest me if I didn't for trespassing. So I gave it to him. Was I within my rights to refuse giving him ID? Had I broken any laws? A foot off the road in a driveway public or private property?

In case your wondering, the reason I refused ID is because I'd like to impress upon them that we do not live in a police state and you can't just stop someone and demand ID.
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Old 04-25-14, 09:53 PM   #2
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If it was private property, that can be probable cause.

It's just easier to hand him your ID and be agreeable. Alternately, make a point of not carrying it on your bike. I never have mine unless I'm driving, it's not required.
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Old 04-25-14, 09:57 PM   #3
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11pm at a closed business?

I'd say the officer would have been derelict of his/her duties if they just drove on past you..

For all you know the place was recently burglarized or vandalized... I have no issues with the officer stopping you nor would I have an issue if they did the same to me..

My .02
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Old 04-25-14, 10:24 PM   #4
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Challenging a police officer's authority, even when you are right, can be dangerous. At the same time it can be effective if done correctly. You could have called his bluff, and said, "officer, I've explained what I was doing and would like be on my way. Are you going to arrest me or am I free to go?" There's a pretty good chance he knows it would be a stupid arrest and he might not want to actually bother "teaching you a lesson" in this case. You have to decide for yourself if you want to go down that road.

Based on the info you gave, I don't think I would have taken a stand on this one either. Seems little to gain and a lot to lose.

10 Rules for Dealing with Police | Cato Institute
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Old 04-25-14, 10:28 PM   #5
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Seems like a bogus claim by the sheriff to me. State laws vary a bit, but here in Calif. there are several defenses to a trespass charge that would apply (see discussion at California Criminal Trespass & Trespassing Laws | Penal Code 602 PC
1) the person charged must be depriving the rightful owner of some use or enjoyment of the property in some way,
2) the person must occupy the property for a substantial continuous amount of time, and
3) the property must be signed, fenced, or in some other way the person must have been informed that he was not to be there.
Furthermore in most places the private land doesn't extend all the way to the curb at the edge of the road - i.e. in residential areas the sidewalk and space between it and the berm are open to the public.

The police do have the right to request your correct name, birth date, and address. With that info they can immediately bring up records to verify it and to see if there's any reason to detain you further. But there's no requirement for you to either have any ID on your person while riding nor for you to show it to them. And even the request is only supposed to be made if the police have reasonable suspicion that you have either committed or witnessed a criminal act which appears not to be the case here.
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Old 04-25-14, 10:41 PM   #6
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And even the request is only supposed to be made if the police have reasonable suspicion that you have either committed or witnessed a criminal act which appears not to be the case here.
Ask yourself if a reasonable person would find it odd for someone to be on a bike (known to be used in many late night crimes), at 11pm, and at a closed business...

If a reasonable person would find this odd then the officer has the right and duty to investigate the circumstances..

Crap house lawyers are a dime a dozen.. Is the OP willing to risk going to jail, a steep fine and other issues over something so simple?

I've never understood the people who claim they don't want to live in a police state.. My guess is that they have NO clue what a police state is...

If the police investigate odd behavior then it's harassment.. If their house or car gets broken into late at night then they complain the police don't do anything....
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Old 04-25-14, 11:27 PM   #7
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Ask yourself if a reasonable person would find it odd for someone to be on a bike (known to be used in many late night crimes), at 11pm, and at a closed business...

If a reasonable person would find this odd then the officer has the right and duty to investigate the circumstances..
It's news to me that bicycles are the vehicle of choice for most criminal acts. Seems like I see reports of getaway cars all the time and it's a kind of 'man bites dog' story when a bicycle is used instead. And 'odd' is not synonymous with suspicion of criminal activity.

Fortunately the police around here don't seem to regard my bicycling late at night as being suspicious. I do so fairly frequently and have only been stopped once. That was over 40 years ago and I was carrying a 6" telescope (this consists of a tube about 50" long by 8" in diameter plus a heavy duty mounting) under my arm and on the rear rack. They didn't ask for name or id but did take a quick glance for a university property tag before letting me continue.
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Old 04-26-14, 12:06 AM   #8
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If you weren't doing anything wrong then why try to deter the police officer from doing his job thoroughly. For all he knew you are an escaped murderer with a warrant out for your arrest.

If he was demanding a strip search or rectal exam then you probably should have questioned his motives.

If you think the USA is a police state, or anything like that, then you have alot to learn.
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Old 04-26-14, 12:06 AM   #9
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There is no law in this country saying you have to carry or show ID.
I wouldnt of given it to him.

While I am on my bike I never give ID, I say I dont have it.
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Old 04-26-14, 12:45 AM   #10
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It's news to me that bicycles are the vehicle of choice for most criminal acts. Seems like I see reports of getaway cars all the time and it's a kind of 'man bites dog' story when a bicycle is used instead. And 'odd' is not synonymous with suspicion of criminal activity.
Bike are used quite often by thugs.. They sell crack from them, they do shootings from them and bikes are often used as a look out..

I was in Law Enforcement for 25-years.. Maybe you've never wandered into the criminal areas, but bikes are used quite often...
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Old 04-26-14, 12:51 AM   #11
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There is no law in this country saying you have to carry or show ID.
I wouldnt of given it to him.
You are correct... However.. Play the game at your own peril... If for instance you are getting a citation for a violation on your bike, not having the proper lights, trespassing, ect and you don't have ID or you can't prove to the officer that you are who you say you are, you could sit in a jail cell until someone brings your ID...

It's a pretty stupid game to play over something so simple don't you think?
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Old 04-26-14, 12:52 AM   #12
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As someone who's had several stolen bikes, I wouldn't have a problem at all. I would think most bike thefts in urban areas are done by guys with rap sheets. If giving my ID at 11:00 PM to prove I've got no "priors" could help deter bike thefts I've got no problem at all. If it was your stolen bike on that street at 11:00 would you appreciate the attention by the cop ?
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Old 04-26-14, 05:15 AM   #13
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Heck no I would have stood my ground. You don't need ID to ride a bike. I told a bunch of cops to go pound sand when they tried attacking my rights. They got pissy and I ended up on tv but in the end it was found out that I was right.
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Old 04-26-14, 05:15 AM   #14
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What's next? Are they gonna stand carding 10 year olds?
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Old 04-26-14, 08:05 AM   #15
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We all benefit from community and shared infrastructure. If you have a problem with showing ID, you can go grow or forage for your own food, draw or collect your own water, collect and remove your own waste, barter for all the goods you don't produce yourself, including bikes, bike parts and accessories and invent and speak your own language. If someone can't tell the difference between police harassment and police enforcement and uses that as their excuse to feel special, then they don't belong on a bicycle on public roads, since they will probably not consider the welfare of other travelers, nor anticipate potential vehicular movements, plan for unexpected events, nor try to contribute towards the smooth flow of traffic, since they are too focused on themselves and not the big picture. If that is you, there are some uninhabited islands off the coast of Alaska you may want to consider. Or you may want to grow up.
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Old 04-26-14, 08:36 AM   #16
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I don't think I have ever had ID on a bike ride.
I suppose I should have something for emergency contact ....
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Old 04-26-14, 08:42 AM   #17
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Because a fundamental principle of a free society is that you cannot be compelled to justify your free exercise of your rights. Anyone - police officer, judge, neighbor, anyone - who suggests that it's reasonable to coerce a free citizen to relinquish a fundamental right, no matter how trivial, merely because the citizen has nothing to fear, has betrayed his lack of understanding of and regard for the basic principles of liberty.

I don't care about showing ID and I'd probably do so without complaint. But were I forced to do so if I had declined for any reason of my choosing, I would be incensed by the abrogation of my rights. Making the cop's job easier is a courtesy, not an obligation.
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Old 04-26-14, 09:10 AM   #18
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Do I then not have to pay taxes?

Honestly all those thing you mention have nothing to do with having your rights violated
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Old 04-26-14, 09:12 AM   #19
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Also if you let things like that go then it's the new norm. Then it becomes a right lost. It's ok to tell a cop no.
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Old 04-26-14, 09:33 AM   #20
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a lawyer would be a better resource .. some are specialists in the vehicle code as applied to bicycle riders .

as Vehicle codes vary state to state , one in your state is better than one , in say , Oregon.


Not required to Be licences cycling , but verbally stating name and social security identifying number is requested , in those cases .


The Law is part of the property owner's defense against the rabble .

now even a stop and questioning goes in your record , and may be held against you in future court appearances.

Security vs Freedom .. and for whom?
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Old 04-26-14, 09:41 AM   #21
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Person A: after getting stopped by the police on his/her bike at 2:00am.. "Stupid cops harassed me last night! I have rights and don't live in a police state! Stupid cops!"

Person A: 2 weeks later after his/her bike is stolen.. "Stupid lazy cops don't care that my bike was stolen and they ain't doing anything to get my bike back! Stupid cops!"

Person A: 5 months later after their car is broken into in the middle of the night.. "Stupid cops still have not found my bike and now they let someone break into my car! I am sick and tired of these lazy and stupid cops!"

Rinse, lather, rinse and repeat....
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Old 04-26-14, 09:52 AM   #22
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If you have the luxury of being white and rich then make a statement and stand up for your principles. I wouldn't dare challenge a cops authority in any way, being disagreeable is just asking for an arrest and possibly a beatdown.

Last edited by pizza777; 04-26-14 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 04-26-14, 09:59 AM   #23
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Also, I was once pulled over on my bicycle. They had to blare the sirens before I realized they were actually pulling me over as a cyclist. They ran my ID and I was thankful I got off with a ticket for not having lights on my bike and riding at night. Could have gone a lot worse.
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Old 04-26-14, 10:14 AM   #24
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Moved from General Cycling.
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Old 04-26-14, 10:30 AM   #25
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The answer is, it depends. What is reasonable in the middle of the night may not be reasonable in the middle of the day. It isn't cut and dried.

I represented a cyclist a few years ago. Seems the only reason the cops stopped him was his riding a bike. Judge ruled against him anyway because his headlight was broken and he had no bicycle license.

Practically speaking, might be best to just show some ID. In some cities, not having a properly displayed bicycle license is grounds for a ticket, at least. That is true in Milwaukee, and almost nobody knows it.

Cops profile cyclists loitering on private property late at night. It might seem unfair, but they do it. The way cops think, if they see a bike rider in the middle of the night, they think drug dealer or someone one parole, or someone with a suspended license for OWI. Act like an a$$hole, and they will find some way to make your life miserable.

If the cops arrest you, you can hire a lawyer and litigate the issue. But, it would suck to spend the night in jail, when simple politeness would get you a warning.

Last edited by MRT2; 04-26-14 at 10:45 AM.
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