Muenz Law Office Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer

Do you have to give police your name, address and identification?

When you're stopped by police in Alberta, they're likely to ask you if you have any identification, what your name is, and where you live. Of course, you can provide them with this information if you'd like. However, if you're not driving a vehicle, you generally don't have to give it to them. You can politely refuse.

One crucial thing to note, though, is that you shouldn't lie. If you do, it may lead to charges for obstructing the police or obstructing justice. Just use your right to remain silent and respectfully refuse if you don't want to tell them who you are. Don't make something up on the spot.

The information above also only applies if you're not behind the wheel. If you're driving and you get pulled over, you then do have a legal obligation to provide the police with your driver's license as a form of ID. Driving a car is not a right that everyone gets automatically, and you have to prove that you're driving legally.

The same can be true if you're riding your bike, but only if you've broken the law. For example, some cyclists decide to just ride through red lights if the way looks clear, rather than stopping. This is illegal. Cyclists are bound by the same laws as drivers. Therefore, the police can pull you over and ask for ID, and they can even arrest you if you won't provide it.

Most people carry their IDs all of the time, but it's very important to know how your rights and obligations are linked to your ID. You want to make sure your rights aren't violated, but you also want to be sure you don't accidentally break the law.

Source: Canadian Civil Liberties Association, "Know Your Rights," accessed Sep. 22, 2016

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Muenz Law Office Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer

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