Know Your Rights - When Do I Have to Give a Police Officer my Name in North Carolina?

It’s a question that many people have – if I’m stopped by a police officer in North Carolina, am I required to provide them with my name?  What will happen if I refuse?  The answer in North Carolina is…it depends.

When am I required to give my name or provide identification to a police officer?

Unlike some states, North Carolina has no “stop and identify” statute.  This means that, as a general rule, a person who is stopped by police in North Carolina is NOT required to provide his or her name or produce identification.  However, pursuant to NCGS § 20-29, a driver of a motor vehicle IS required to produce a license upon the request of an officer.  Therefore, unless you are stopped while operating a motor vehicle, you have no legal obligation to give a police officer your name or any identification when asked.

What happens if I refuse to provide my name or identification to a police officer?

Under NCGS § 20-29, it is a Class 2 misdemeanor for the driver of a motor vehicle to fail to produce a license or other valid identification upon the request of a police officer.  You may also be charged with Resist, Delay, or Obstruct a Public Officer pursuant to NCGS § 14-223.

As discussed above, if you are not operating a motor vehicle, it is your right to politely refuse to give your name or identification to police officer when requested.  Unfortunately, in our experience, some police officers in Wake County still falsely believe a person must provide identification upon request. Therefore, even though you have the right to refuse to identify yourself when stopped by the police, there’s still a chance you could be wrongly charged with Resist, Delay, or Obstruct a Public Officer (RDO) in the Raleigh area for refusing.  Should this happen, an aggressive and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer, like our attorneys at The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, can show in court that simply refusing to identify yourself to a police officer (as is your legal right) cannot support a North Carolina resisting arrest (RDO) charge.

Contact a Raleigh RDO Lawyer Today

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, like Resist Delay or Obstruct (RDO), in Wake County and believe your rights were violated by a police officer, contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel at 919-585-1486 for a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers. 


Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.