Do You Have to Carry ID With You at All Times?

Can you leave the house without your ID? It seems like a silly question to most, but with some shifts in state immigration laws, it has become a serious question.

In a perfect world, you wouldn't need to carry your ID on you at all times. But here's what you might expect in the real world:

When You Leave Your Home...

Despite the questionable legal status of Arizona's immigration laws, there is no place in the nation where simply being in public without ID is illegal.

However, there are several states in which it is an arrestable offense if you refuse to identify yourself to police. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that these kinds of laws can be legal, as long as the officers had reasonable suspicion to detain you in the first place.

In states with these laws, like Arizona and Nevada, you may be required to give police your full legal name. But you don't have to answer any other questions, and you shouldn't need any form of identification.

When You're in a Store...

Federal courts have held that certain stores may legally require you provide ID in order to make a return. You can also be legally required to show ID for the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, or even cold medicine.

When You're Driving...

Driving without a license is a crime in all states and in Washington, D.C. This means you need to have your valid driver's license on hand if an officer stops you while driving. Failing to show proof of a valid license is a lesser offense than not having a license at all, but it can still be a crime.

When You Vote...

There is a rising trend in many states to require photo IDs to be presented in order to vote. The federal government sued Texas over its voter ID law in August, claiming that the law discriminated against ethnic minorities.

If your state has one of these laws, it may be legal for ballot officials to require you to show a form of photo ID. Contact a local civil rights attorneyif you feel your state's laws are keeping you from voting.

If you're not involved in one of the activities above, you should be OK to not carry your ID.

By Brett Snider, Esq.

TSA Agents Not Liable for Assaults, False Arrests

By William Vogeler, Esq. on July 17, 2018 11:42 AM

You know that feeling you get when airport screeners pat you down or invade your luggage?

Well, maybe not you in particular, but those other guys who get treated like suspected bombers when they're just having a bad day. It's not funny when people get singled out by security for no good reason.

Unfortunately, it's going to get worse because a federal appeals court said airport screeners are immune from liability for assaults, false arrests and other intentional abuses. Let's just hope they get the real bad guys.

Overzealous Screeners

In Pellegrino v. United States of America Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said TSA agents are shielded from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

The appeals court said it was "sympathetic" to concerns that there may be "very limited legal redress" for alleged mistreatment by overzealous screeners.

"For most people, TSA screenings are an unavoidable feature of flying," Circuit Judge Cheryl Ann Krause wrote.

However, the 2-1 majority said, Congress did not expand liability for abuses to airport screeners. Under the FTCA, the government generally has sovereign immunity for intentional torts by federal employees.

False Arrest

In dissent, Judge Thomas Ambro faulted the majority for minimizing TSA searches as if they were "routine administrative inspections." For Nadine Pellegrino, it was much worse.

She sued the TSA for false arrest and malicious prosecution following an altercation at a Pennsylvania airport in 2006. She had been randomly selected for additional screening before boarding a flight to Florida.

She objected to the invasiveness of the screening, and conditions deteriorated. She was jailed for 18 hours and criminally charged, but acquitted at trial.