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Is it illegal for a police officer to threaten "i will take you to jail if you don't answer my questions"?

Stafford, TX |

I was stopped and asked for id while walking. There was no reasonable suspicion or probable cause. I refused and the officer threatened to take me to jail because he said Texas law requires me to give id information to any officer who requests it. I reluctantly gave the information he requested. I have since read Texas penal code 38.02.
Was I within my rights do decline the request for id.
Did the officer's threat and misstating the law violate Texas law?
Or was he following routine police procedures?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. § 38.02. FAILURE TO IDENTIFY.
    (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information.
    (b) A person commits an offense if he intentionally gives a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has:
    (1) lawfully arrested the person;
    (2) lawfully detained the person; or
    (3) requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense.
    (c) Except as provided by Subsections (d) and (e), an offense under this section is:
    (1) a Class C misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a); or
    (2) a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (b).
    (d) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that the defendant was a fugitive from justice at the time of the offense, the offense is:
    (1) a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a); or
    (2) a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (b).
    (e) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under Section 106.07, Alcoholic Beverage Code, the actor may be prosecuted only under Section 106.07.

    That is the law. Now, of course, the chance you take is that the officer might not tell quite the truth if he decides to arrest you. He may say you were not using the sidewalk; or you were walking in a way indicating you were intoxicated and a danger to yourself; or that there was a report of incident in the area involving a person dressed like you.......

    Cynthia Henley
    713-222-1220


  2. Technically, you do have the right to walk away from an officer with answering any questions at all. However, he also has the right to arrest you if he has probably cause to believe an offense occurred. And probable cause is easy to fabricate. So in general, I would say getting into a pissing match with a cop is a risky proposition.

    Macy Jaggers's answer to a legal question on Avvo does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Jaggers offers everyone a free consultation to discuss their case. Feel free to call her office at 214-365-9800 to make an appointment (phones are answered 24 hours) or visit her website at www.macyjaggers.com for more information about her services and recent victories.


  3. I agree with Ms. Henley's answer.

    If you really want to make an issue of this incident, you might consult with a civil rights lawyer.

    Answers on Avvo are for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. No attorney / client relationship is created by providing this answer. For specific advice about your situation, you should consult a competent attorney of your choosing.

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