Is it a Crime in Ohio to Refuse to Provide Personal Information (Name, Address, Birthdate) to a Police Officer?
Answer: It Depends.
In Ohio, if a police officer has reasonable suspicion that you have committed a crime, and asks for your name, address, or date of birth, you have to provide the information.
Failing or refusing to provide the officer with your information is a potential violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.29.
It is also a violation of ORC 2921.29 if an officer has reason to believe you witnessed an individual commit a crime, and asks that you provide your name, address, or date of birth for the purposes of the officer’s investigation.
PENALTIES FOR FAILING TO PROVIDE NAME, ADDRESS OR DATE OF BIRTH
If you are found guilty of failing to disclose your personal information, police could charge you with a fourth degree misdemeanor. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and/or a $250 dollar fine.
WHEN IS SOMEONE GUILTY OF FAILING TO DISCLOSE PERSONAL INFORMATION UNDER ORC 2921.29?
ANSWER: Officer cannot demand ID unless he or she reasonably believes you have committed, are committing or about to commit a crime.
For example, in State v. Dickman, 34 NE 3d 488, 10th Appellate Dist. 2015, a Gahanna police officer used an automated scanner to run license plates in the Kroger parking lot across from the police station.
As the officer drove through the lot, she passed Defendant and another man sitting in an SUV. The driver didn’t look at her – he just stared straight ahead. The officer found this suspicious. She parked her car walked toward the SUV.
Defendant was in the passenger seat and fumbling with something (which was later discovered to be trading cards). He glanced up, unlocked the SUV, opened the door (which set off the alarm), slid out, shut the door, and stood by the door. He dropped some plastic baggies as he got out of the SUV. The blaring alarm and the plastic baggies made the officer more suspicious.
The officer said there had been a number of break-ins recently in that Kroger lot and asked what he was doing. He said his friend had gone into the grocery store to buy groceries and that the constitution allowed him to refuse to speak to the officer.
The officer asked for his identification. He refused to provide it, again citing the constitution. The officer then asked for his name and social security number and he said he would not give her that information and that if she wanted it, she would have to arrest him. At that point, he was arrested.
He began to resist arrest and tried to run but was restrained. The officer later found bath salts in his pocket. She ran his ID and found an open warrant.
However, in court, the case was thrown out.
You are only required to provide ID if the officer reasonably suspects that you are committing, have committed or are about to commit a crime. R.C. 2921.29(A)(1).
Here, the officer couldn’t identify any crime she believed Defendant had committed or was committing. Further, because the officer lacked probable cause to arrest, the arrest itself was unconstitutional and was thrown out.
ANSWER: Police can demand your ID if they reasonably believe you have committed a crime.
In State v. Mitchem, 2014 Ohio 2366, the Ohio appeals court found Defendant did violate Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.29 because the officers had reasonable suspicion the Defendant committed a trespass violation. Therefore, he was obligated to disclose his personal information or be arrested.
If you have been charged with Obstructing Official Business, Failure to Disclose Personal Information or any type of related offenses and have questions about defenses related to your legal rights, talk to one of our Columbus criminal defense attorneys about your case at 614-361-2804.