Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Take the first step in securing a successful defense.
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what our team can do for you.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

Utah Criminal Attorney - Giving Name to Police

Question: Can a police officer demand my name and an explanation of my activities?

Answer: Utah criminal law provides that there are circumstances under which a person may be required to give the person's name to the officer. Failure to disclose identity as required under Utah Code 76-8-301.5 is punishable as a class B misdemeanor. More serious charges can be filed if a person gives a false name or makes a false report to a police officer.

This page is intended to provide general information regarding the question of whether a person can be required to give their name to police. But if you have been charged for a crime in Utah or if police have indicated that they want to question or interview, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be critical. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to arrange for a confidential consultation.

Lawful Stop by Police in Utah

In order to trigger the requirements of Utah Code 76-8-301.5, a police officer must first meet the requirements of Utah Code 77-7-15. This section of the Utah criminal code provides that a police officer may stop or detain a person in a public place if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the person has committed a crime, or is currently in the act of or attempting to committing a crime. This law then provides that the officer may then "demand" the person's name, address, and "an explanation of his actions."

Fifth Amendment Protections

Although Utah Code 77-7-15 states that a police officer may "demand . . .  an explanation of [the person's] actions," it is important to remember that the Fifth Amendment provides a Constitutional privilege against self-incrimination. While the statute allows the officer to ask for an explanation of actions, the Constitution gives the person detained the right to remain silent. Because the authority of the Constitution trumps the statutory requirements, no criminal penalty can be imposed simply because a person declines to give an explanation of his actions.

An important distinction must be made between the right to remain silent and giving false information. The Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination does not give the person detained the right to give a false explanation to the police. Thus, if the person chooses to provide an explanation of actions that is false, the person may potentially face charges that could include giving false information to a police officer, obstruction of justice, or making a false police report.

Limits to a Police Officer's Demand for a Name under Utah Law

While the Constitution provides that you do not have to explain your actions to a police officer, Utah law does still provide a misdemeanor for a person who refuses to give his or her name to a police officer. Still, there are limits on the circumstances under which a person is required to provide a name.

Utah Code 76-8-301.5 recognizes a person cannot be required to provide a name if disclosure of the name would "present a reasonable danger of self-incrimination in the commission of a crime." Further, the statute requires that the demand to provide a name must be reasonably related to the circumstances which justified the stop in the first place. An officer cannot randomly stop people on the street and demand to know their names.

Penalties for Failing to Disclose a Name in Utah

Failing to disclose identity is punishable as a class B misdemeanor under Utah law. The maximum punishment for a class B misdemeanor is 180 days in jail plus $1,900 in fines and surcharge. Probation conditions may also apply if the court suspends jail time.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerThe consequences of any criminal conviction can be serious. As an experienced Utah criminal lawyer based in Salt Lake City, Mr. Howard has protected his clients' rights in cases ranging from aggravated murder to DUI, and virtually everything in between.

If you are facing prosecution for a crime in Utah, a good attorney can help give you the best chance of success. Contact us today to schedule confidential consultation.

RELATED QUESTIONS:
What is required for police to stop a person without a warrant in Utah?
What happens if police don't read a person the Miranda rights in Utah?
Do police have to ask for both sides of the story before arresting?


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client was facing multiple cases involving first-degree felony drug distribution charges for allegedly selling to a confidential informant. Defense analysis of the case revealed fatal flaws in the prosecution case that ultimately resulted in a complete dismissal of all cases and charges.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Expungement - Worked to restore client's expungement eligibility through 402 reduction process, then filed successful expungement petitions in multiple courts obtaining expungement orders and clearing client's official criminal history.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Dismissal - Client was charged with first-degree felony home burglary and facing potential life in prison. Defense analysis revealed flaws in prosecutor's case which led to abeyance agreement intended to lead to a full dismissal of the case.
  • Recent Posts
  • What Constitutes Drug Parpahernalia in Utah How is drug paraphernalia defined in Utah? - The definition of drug paraphernalia under the Utah criminal code looks at both the nature of the object and also the intended use of the object in question. . . .
  • Utah Misdemeanor Attorney Salt Lake Can I handle a Utah misdemeanor from out-of-state? - Even if you do not intend to take your case to trial, a misdemeanor criminal offense in Utah can require multiple court appearances to reach a resolution. If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, but are not a Utah resident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without returning to the state. . . .
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

Successfully defending against criminal prosecution requires more than just an 'aggressive' defense. The best defense attorneys understand that a sophisticated defense requires a thorough understanding of a variety of nuanced legal issues, real experience in the courtroom, good negotiation skills, and much more. Fighting hard is good. Fighting smart is better....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients facing some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. Whether you are facing prosecution for felony or misdemeanor charges, you can be assured that our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and determination necessary to help you achieve the results you need. Choosing the best defense attorney for your case will be one of the most important decisions you make....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

Even a "minor" misdemeanor carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. The direct penalties and collateral consequences of a felony conviction are even more severe. Understanding these consequences is critical as you make decisions relating to your case. Even in a misdemeanor case, you should not....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Never give up hope. Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. And it is usually not the end of the world. While the consequences of a criminal charge can be serious, there are often several options and strategies for handling your case. Understanding your options and how an experienced criminal lawyer can help....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.