BENTON CO. Ark. — An Arkansas man was arrested after refusing to identify himself when he got pulled over.
The situation escalated and deputies busted his windows out and pulled him out of his car.
If you’re ever in that situation you may wonder what kind of information you are required by law to hand over to an officer. In a traffic stop, an officer must first tell you why you’re being pulled over. And in Missouri, as well an in Arkansas, you are required to provide proof of identification when requested.
“I’m refusing to show ID or tell you my name, there’s no reason for that,” Edwin Taylor can be heard saying in a cell phone video he recorded when he was pulled over.
The Benton County man spent 121 days in jail because he refused to give his driver’s license to a deputy after being pulled over for a headlight that was out.
“In Arkansas, you are required to show driver’s license upon request,” the deputy is heard in Taylor’s cell phone video.
That’s the law, but Edwin Taylor says his rights were violated.
“I did nothing wrong,” he said.
Benton County deputies smashed his windows out when he refused to get out of the car.
“I’m not getting out of the car,” Taylor said in the video. And then, two deputies started busting out the windows of his car.
“And then it just escalated, it went from 0 to 100 just like that,” Taylor said.
Both Taylor and deputies’ dash cam recorded the incident.
“How is that justified? Breaking my windows because I’m not going to give you my name?” Taylor said.
Criminal defense attorney Stuart Huffman says in Missouri you are required to hand over your information.
“If you refuse, to an officer, that is an indication to them that maybe you are trying to hide something. Maybe you got a warrant, maybe you are doing something you are not supposed to be doing. So, to them it justifies their action even though to us it seems highly excessive,” Huffman said.
Huffman says you’re not required to answer any questions not related to the traffic stop
“Outside of who you are, and then potentially where you are going and where you came from, you shouldn’t answer any more questions than that because outside of that, it’s not really relevant to the traffic stop,” he said.
He says especially avoid guilt seeking questions
“At that point, you have an absolute right to not answer any questions,” he said. “If they indicate – Have you been drinking? Have you been smoking any sort of drugs? Those are specific guilt-seeking questions.”
The way the law is written now, even when you feel your rights are being violated, Huffman says it’s best to comply. The remedy he says is a civil suit later.
“Public awareness is the number one thing that will assist in the change of law,” Huffman said.
If you resist, you can be charged with resisting arrest, which depending on the situation can be a misdemeanor or a felony.. and the time can vary from one to four years behinds bars.