A Lyft/Uber is pulled over for a broken headlight. Why is the passenger compelled to produce identification to law enforcement? Are identification rules uniform throughout the US or does it vary widely from state to state?

1 Answer 1


Identification rules vary from state to state, but there is no state which would require a person in Mr. Walker's position to identify themselves to law enforcement.

The passenger is compelled to produce identification to law enforcement through the threat of illegal violence.

  • 2
    Presumably if, say, police pulled over a vehicle for a broken headlight and discovered that the passenger was wearing an orange jumpsuit and leg irons, they would have reasonable grounds to investigate whether that person is an escaped prisoner?
    – avid
    Sep 14, 2020 at 13:06
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    @avid quite possibly. but in about half the states the police can not require identification. In the other half, identification can be verbal - Mr. Walker saying "My name is Mr. Walker" would suffice. In no state would Mr Walker be required to produce identification documents. In no state, would the police have been allowed to move Mr. Walker. They would not be allowed to put Mr. Walker in a cell while they take a leisurely census of all the prisoners.
    – emory
    Sep 14, 2020 at 13:29
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    A few references would be nice. In my country, one has to provide identification when asked, if one can not provide identification police are allowed to hold a person until their identity has been established. It would be nice if you added some references to the relevant US laws to show that the situation is indeed as you claim.
    – Polygnome
    Sep 14, 2020 at 17:17
  • @Polygnome a link summarizing US law is here en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_and_identify_statutes. However, in practice (1) Mr. Walker did have to identify himself despite the law saying he did not have to; and (2) I have lived abroad in countries with laws that said I had to identify to police on request - and I never identified to police on request and nothing happened to me.
    – emory
    Sep 14, 2020 at 17:29
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    @emory where you asked to identify? How did you avoid identifying yourself?
    – Ángel
    Sep 14, 2020 at 22:52

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