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Effective Criminal Defense Since 1998
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Do I have to show my ID or answer questions when stopped by police?

Being stopped by police officers in Wisconsin can be a stressful experience, where one wrong move or statement can result in serious consequences.

A common occurrence is when drivers are pulled over on suspicion of OWI, but police also stop individuals for questioning in other situations, such as a person walking down the street. If this happens to you, how you react is crucial as is knowing your rights under the Constitution.

Interacting with police

Never assume that an officer’s priority is your safety or protecting your rights. Still, it’s essential to avoid anything that can make the situation worse. That means:

  • Stay calm
  • Be civil and respectful
  • Don’t try to run away
  • Don’t lie or give false information
  • Don’t obstruct the officer
  • Keep your hands where police can see them

Do I have to show the police my ID?

No. You are not legally required to show your ID to police officers in Wisconsin if you are not detained or taken into custody. In addition, you do not have to provide proof of citizenship.

Do I have to answer the officer’s questions?

No. You have no legal obligation to supply answers. Politely decline even if they are persistent. If you are not in custody, ask them if you are free to leave.

What should I do if I’m arrested or detained?

If the police believe you know of or participated in a crime and place you in custody, exercise your right to remain silent and immediately ask for a lawyer. Cooperate with the officer’s instructions, but don’t say anything else until your lawyer is present.

Why should my first call be to a lawyer?

Everyone placed in custody has the right to make a local phone call. Police cannot listen in to a conversation between you and your attorney. However, they can and do monitor conversations if you call anyone else.