Refusal to Show ID Results in Search Warrant

Is a refusal to show ID probable cause? For what?

checkpoint ahead

Cops set up a sobriety checkpoint in Napa Valley, California. Two men were pulled over who did not test positive for alcohol. But they refused to show police their photo ID.

According to the Napa Valley Register, “Motorist refuses to show license at sobriety checkpoint.”

The matter began on Aug. 22 when Napa Police Sgt. Brian Campagna was supervising the sobriety checkpoint at Third and Coombs streets. Police had publicized this enforcement action in local media.

At about 10:30 p.m., a California Highway Patrol Officer Phil Ross assigned to the checkpoint told Campagna a motorist was declining to show his driver’s license, according to a search warrant related to the incident.

Citing case law, Johnathan Travis Moore, or Travis Kasprowicz, a 31-year-old man from Vacaville driving the 2014 Chrysler 300, declined to provide his driver’s license after multiple requests from the CHP officer, according to the court filing.

A front-seat passenger, Ryan Tregaskis, 23, who was known to one of the police officers present, started filming the scene with a cell phone. Moore stated he had not been drinking, according to the search warrant.

Campagna allowed Moore to leave after taking down the license plate, according to the court document. On Aug. 26, Campagna learned the video had been posted on YouTube.

Neither driver nor passenger has been charged in connection with the incident. Napa Police declined to further comment on the case, citing an investigation that was under way.

I understand that drivers are required to carry their license with them when they drive. And I understand that they are required to show it when pulled over by a police officer for some kind of moving violation. But I don’t understand how they can be stopped at a random checkpoint, when they have done nothing wrong and do not show that they have illegal blood alcohol, and be forced to show their identification.

[See also, “Police Brutality for Seatbelt Violation.”]

And I don’t understand, as the story goes on to describe, how a refusal to show ID can possibly be probable cause for a warrant.

Nor do I understand how it can be a crime to “conspire” to be pulled over at a checkpoint and refuse to show ID when there is no legal requirement for them to do so.

If they aren’t required to show the identification then planning to not show it cannot be a criminal act either.

Yet, according to the Napa Valley Register, these men had their computers searched because they would not provide identification.

So be careful about refusing to cooperate with police. You never know what they might find out about you.