Re: Is this legal?
by Nashota - Posted Fri March 16, 2012 @ 12:06 AM
At this time, Mississippi does not have a 'stop and identify' law.
In the United States, interactions between police and citizens fall into three general categories: consensual (“contact” or “conversation”), detention (often called a Terry stop, after Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)), or arrest. “Stop and identify” laws pertain to detentions.
Different obligations apply to drivers of automobiles, who generally are required by state vehicle codes to present a driver’s license to police upon request.
At any time, police may approach a person and ask questions. The objective may simply be a friendly conversation; however, the police also may suspect involvement in a crime, but lack “specific and articulable facts” that would justify a detention or arrest, and hope to obtain these facts from the questioning. The person approached is not required to identify himself or answer any other questions, and may leave at any time. Police are not usually required to tell a person that he is free to decline to answer questions and go about his business; however, a person can usually determine whether the interaction is consensual by asking, “Am I free to go?”
4 Writing for the Court in Terry v. Ohio, Chief Justice Warren stated,
And in justifying the particular intrusion the police officer must be able to point to specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion. — 392 U.S. at 21
5 Writing for the Court in Florida v. Royer 460 U.S. 491 (1983), Justice White stated,
The person approached, however, need not answer any question put to him; indeed, he may decline to listen to the questions at all and may go on his way. — 460 U.S. at 497–498
6 Writing for the Court in United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544 (1980) Justice Stewart stated,
Our conclusion that no seizure occurred is not affected by the fact that the respondent was not expressly told by the agents that she was free to decline to cooperate with their inquiry, for the voluntariness of her responses does not depend upon her having been so informed. — 446 U.S. at 555
7 The ACLU publication Know Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement states,
You can say, “I do not want to talk to you” and walk away calmly. Or, if you do not feel comfortable doing that, you can ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, you can consider just walking away. Do not run from the officer. If the officer says you are not under arrest, but you are not free to go, then you are being detained.
8 If the encounter is consensual, a person approached need not actually leave to terminate the encounter, but may simply ignore police. In Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567 (1988), Justice Blackmun explained the Court’s holding that Chesternut had not been detained, stating that the police conduct “would not have communicated to a reasonable person that he was not at liberty to ignore the police presence and go about his business.” — 486 U.S. at 569