In Illinois, if you are stopped by the police and they request your name, address, or date of birth, you are required to give that information to the officer. This is true whether you are being arrested, briefly detained (for example, a traffic stop) or questioned as a witness. If you give the officer a false name, address, or date of birth, you can be charged with obstructing identification.
The key to beating a charge of obstructing identification can be found in the statute itself. Let’s take a closer look at the language of the law:
720 ILCS 5/31-4.5: Obstructing identification
(a) A person commits the offense of obstructing identification when he or she intentionally or knowingly furnishes a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has:
(1) lawfully arrested the person;
(2) lawfully detained the person; or
(3) Requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense. (emphasis added)
The words to focus on are “lawfully” and “good cause to believe.” A person is unlawfully arrested or detained if the police violate their fourth amendment rights while arresting or detaining them. For example, police are required to have probable cause to make an arrest. If the police arrest you despite not having probable cause, the police have unlawfully arrested you. If your attorney can prove that the police violated your fourth amendment rights, then the charge of obstructing identification can be dismissed.
Although this law is new (2012) I have already handled several of these cases and have been able to have the charge either dismissed or a sentence of court supervision, (meaning no conviction).
As always, each case presents unique facts. Please feel free to contact us to discuss the facts of you case. We offer a no-obligation, free consultation. (708) 410-0090.