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I asked this question before but it was closed. So I will try to be here more specific.

I have read the stop and identify statutes wikipedia page. In this page there is written that:

In 12 states (Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Wisconsin), police "may demand" identifying information. Of note, though, in New Hampshire for example (RSA 594:2), statutory language authorizing a 'demand' for identity does not establish a legal requirement to provide documentation of identity (ID), or even a requirement to respond in the first place.

So in New Hampshire a police officer may DEMAND my identification from me, and I may simply ignore him/her without committing a crime, right?

If my understanding is correct, suppose I am a gentlemen in my home in New Hampshire, and I am being harrassed by Mr. X (although I don't know his name): Mr. X is outside my door, he is calling my phone number repeatedly, he is repeatedly knocking on my door, he is repeatedly shouting my name out, he is repeatedly calling me a child molester, etc.

I call the police. The police shows up. I tell the police I want to file charges for harrassment against the guy in front of me (Mr. X, but I don't yet know his name). The police asks Mr. X (still, nobody knows his name at this time) for his identification. Mr. X will repond that "statutory language [...] does not establish a legal requirement to provide documentation of identity (ID)".

End of it. End of my charges.

Is that correct?

Note this question is not a duplicate of this one, because the latter question occurred in Texas, and the answer provided there ("Texas is not a state with an obligation to identify statute") does not apply here, because here we are in New Hampshire, which has such a statute.

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  • You seem to be asking whether people suspected of committing a crime can evade arrest and prosecution simply by preventing the police from learning their identity. Is that correct? (If so, the answer is of course no.) I also note that your description of the law in New Hampshire suggests that it too "is not a state with an obligation to identify statute." It has a "may demand" statute that is not an "obligation to identify" statute.
    – phoog
    Nov 22 '20 at 18:11
  • Yes, I am asking that. Moreover, I am also asking a second question, which is how the police can learn the identity consistently with the statute that "does not establish a legal requirement to provide documentation of identity (ID), or even a requirement to respond in the first place". This second question has two sub-questions: (i) if they ask my name or my ID, can I refuse to give it to them without criminal penalties? (ii) if the answer to the previous is yes (which seems to be what the statute suggest), can they frisk me and find my ID? Nov 22 '20 at 18:15
  • @phogg if the statute "does not establish a legal requirement to provide documentation of identity (ID)", I can refuse to privde them my identity without incurring in criminal penalties, correct? Nov 22 '20 at 18:35
  • If they have probable cause to arrest you, then part of the arrest and booking process will be to identify who you are. In this case they can certainly search you and find your ID. If you don't have any, and you refuse to help them identify you, they will hold you until they can (via fingerprints, etc). The lack of a "stop and identify" statute is only relevant in cases where the police don't otherwise have probable cause to arrest or detain the person. Nov 22 '20 at 19:26
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No. SCOTUS Case law states that if a police officer has reasonable articulable facts leading them to believe Mr. X has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime, they can demand Mr. X identify himself.

If police officer doesn’t have such reasonable articulable facts, they can request your ID, but can’t demand it. (The kicker? They don’t need to tell you if they have them)

Refusing to provide ID after being arrested can lead to new charges.

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