The state of Texas has several laws in place that penalize individuals for attempting to prevent a law enforcement officer from doing his job. Resisting arrest and evading arrest are two examples of such charges. In addition, failure to identify is another crime individuals may be charged with if they do not cooperate when they are arrested or detained. If you have been charged with failure to identify, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to make sure that your legal rights are protected.
What constitutes a failure to identify?
The elements of the crime of failure to identify are laid out in Texas Penal Code Section 38.02.
This law says the offense is committed if an individual will not give his name, address, or birth date to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the individual and has requested this information.
Additionally, an individual may be arrested for failure to identify if that individual gives a fake name, address, or birth date to a peace officer who has arrested or detained that individual. An individual may also be arrested for failure to identify if the peace officer is questioning that individual as a possible witness to a crime and the individual gives a false name, address, or date of birth.
In each of these cases, the arrest or detention must have been a lawful one.
Penalties for failure to identify
If the individual is arrested for failure to identify because the individual refused to give information to a law enforcement officer, the crime is a class C misdemeanor.
Class C misdemeanors may result in a fine of up to $500.
If the individual gave a fake name, address, or date of birth to the law enforcement officer, the crime is a class B misdemeanor.
Class B misdemeanors carry sentences of 180 days in jail at most. A fine of no more than $2,000 may be ordered.
If, at the time of the arrest, the accused was a fugitive from justice, the crime is a class B misdemeanor if the accused refused to give identifying information to the law enforcement officer.
The charge is a class A misdemeanor if the accused gave false information to the officer. Class A misdemeanors may result in up to a year in jail and a fine of $4,000 at most.
How do I know my arrest was lawful?
The law states that an individual may be charged with failure to identify for either refusing to provide information to an officer or for providing false information to an officer during a lawful arrest or detention. But how does the average citizen know if an arrest is actually lawful?
Unfortunately, in most failure to identify cases, determining whether an arrest was lawful requires an analysis of all of the facts of the case—thus, after the arrest has been completed. Criminal defense attorneys are experienced in failure to identify claims and will determine if, in fact, an arrest was lawful. If not, failure to identify charges may be reduced or even dismissed.
Criminal defense attorneys are trained to protect their clients’ legal rights throughout the duration of a case. Hiring an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest is one of the best decisions an individual may make.
Call today to schedule a free consultation with the Hampton Eppes Law Group.
Brian Eppes is a former Texas prosecutor who understands the burdens of proof prosecutors must show in various crimes. To schedule your free consultation with our team, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.