Jul 31, 2014
The crime of obstructing Identificatin is a fluid beast. This case
illustrates how this can be so.
Was there sufficient evidence for obstructing identification?
Initial caretaking contact turned into an investigative seizure for
DUI, thus, Defendant was obligated to give her real name to avoid a
conviction for obstructing identification.
People v. Schronski, 3rd Dist., 07/09/2014.
Defendant was charged with obstructing identification under 720
Defendant was in car parked at a gas station for 30 minutes. Clerk
calls the police. When police get there. Defendant is alone in the
car. She gives the cops another person’s I.D. card when they ask
for her identification. She was intoxicated.
To sustain a conviction of obstructing identification, the
prosecution must prove that a person:
(1) intentionally or knowingly provided a false or fictitious name,
residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer;
(2) was either:
(a) lawfully arrested or detained, or
(b) the information was requested from an individual that was
reasonably believed to have witnessed a crime.
Sufficient Evidence for Obstructing Identification
Defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence. Was she
detained as is required by the law?
Police-citizen encounters are generally limited to three
an arrest supported by probable cause;
a brief investigatory stop based on a reasonable and
articulable suspicion of criminal activity; and
an interaction for purposes of community caretaking or public
Community caretaking encounters do not involve coercion or
detention and therefore do not rise to the level of a seizure under
the fourth amendment. A detention occurs when a reasonable,
innocent person in the circumstances would believe that he or she
would not be free to leave.
Defendant’s submission to the field sobriety test indicated that
the stop had transformed into an investigatory stop based on
suspicion that defendant was driving under the influence. At that
point, defendant was not free to leave.
Defendant’s refusal to provide her name and her representation that
another person’s identification belonged to her completed the
Remember, she could have merely refused to give her name. But
lying made it an offense.