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Do You Have To Show ID If Law Enforcement Asks?


The case of an Onslow County Deputy caught on cell phone video demanding to see a driver's license from a man standing on his own porch, who was not accused of a crime, raises the question of when you have to show your ID.

We spoke to Greenville criminal defense lawyer Keith Williams about the video.

He says that the homeowner, who presented his Veterans ID, is even more than what was required of him, which was nothing at all.

Williams says the only time you're required to show ID in our state is if you are pulled over in your vehicle, in which case you need a driver's license.

As far as the recording of the officer, Williams says that is perfectly legal as well, and that there was no reason he could see why the deputy needed to seize the camera phones.

Williams also talked to us about the moment the homeowner is handcuffed. Williams says, "An officer can handcuff a person even if they aren't arrested -- it's called a terry-stop -- it's where an officer doesn't have probably cause to conduct and arrest but they have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity occurred -- and they are allowed to handcuff the person and put them in restraints while they check out their reasonable suspicion. I think the problem here is I don't see any reasonable suspicion for the officer to believe that any criminal activity had occurred -- so I would disagree with the decision to put the man in handcuffs.

Williams says that he can respect that law enforcement officers never know what they are going up against, but felt this was an overreaction on the part of the deputy and agreed with Sheriff Ed Brown that the deputy would benefit from more training.


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