“Evidence of Identity” Rides Again

Is this valid ID for John Doe under 28-1595C?

I’ve been following this since as far back as 1999 (a deaf-mute bicyclist was arrested and held in jail overnight because he lacked ID); with some interesting updates in 2014 (police demanding ID from an ostensibly “jaywalking” pedestrian).

The rules revolving around operators of a motor vehicle are pretty clear; drivers must have a valid drivers license for other reasons (e.g. to comply with §28-3151 ), and the DL satisfies the elements set forth in 28-1595: name, address, height, etc — but for everyone else it’s remain vague, and in fact court rulings have (repeatedly) looked at the non-motorist provision and struck it down, most recently in 2003 Atkins; and the law hasn’t changed since.

The United States has a strong history of not requiring “papers”. A long-standing and well-understood, and well-accepted (and legal!)  exception being motor vehicle drivers require a license for the privilege to drive, owing primarily to the great harm that motorists can inflict upon others.

Everyone else; no. There is no walking ID, there is no bicycling ID, there is no passenger ID. People who want ID, for example, can get an Arizona state-issued ID card, but are not required to have one.

Enter HB2305 (53rd 1st Regular legislature, spring 2017) which seeks to overcome the constitutional vagueness problem latent in 28-1595.

Does it?

Is something similar to the above pic, assuming valid info is on it, satisfy the requirements of the (newly reformulated) 28-1595C? Why or why not? Note it has on official seal on it.

It’s clear that an AZ state-issued drivers license or ID card satisfies the requirements under 28-1595C — but is vague (unconstitutionally?) on what else does, or doesn’t satisfy the requirement.

The Bill Moves Forward — 2/1/2017

Hearing 2/1/2017 of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  (the full hearing is on the internet, HB2305 and click on “videos”, then there’s an index to the bills heard) There was a long discussion, sortof interesting.

  • Why is this a Class 2 misdemeanor crime? There are many far more serious crimes (e.g. causing death by moving violation) that are less serious classification). Perhaps should be a civil violation.
  • Children need ID? The speaker from Pima Co Attorney’s office, IMHO, hand-waved around this one; mentioning “library cards” (which clearly don’t meet all 5 “evidence of id” requirements — does your library card have your height and weight on it?)
  • Random constitutional questions
  • Some mis-information about bicyclists riding on a sidewalk (testimony from a  deputy Pima Co Attn said it’s a Title 28 violation, it is not).  Nor is it a Title 28 violation to ride along a crosswalk. This begs a larger question about how many LEOs misunderstand how Title 28 applies to bicyclists; and subsequently illegally “pull over” bicyclists who are actually not violating any statute.
  • The hypotheticals about peds usually mention “jaywalking” — it’s HIGHLY unlikely a ped is actually in violation of the state Title 28, but many people and LEOs don’t really know the law either (a jaywalking violation is only possible in very constrained, urban downtown cores, see 28-793)
  • Nanny-state type concerns for non-drivers
  • MUCH of the debate pondered issues revolving around non-drivers, usually passengers, sometimes bicyclists or pedestrians.  The sponsor, more than once i think, mis-stated that a hypothetical passenger has to be suspected of a crime (e.g. a seatbelt violation is not a crime, yet that is enough to trigger this new law). Nota bene: the initial suspected violation must be “a violation of this title (28)”. For passengers, that’s an extreme constraint, there is very little a passenger can do to violate title 28.
    [this is an aside: It’s not really clear to me how a “secondary” seatbelt law (28-909) can trigger this law against a passenger. In other words, what was the passenger’s primary offense?]

There was an amendment passed at the 2/1/2017 committee hearing (the bill moved forward DPA 5-3. interestingly someone changed his vote from no to yes to prevent a tie which would result in the bill dying in committee ); The law always had a provision for drivers that they cannot be convicted of this crime if they provide a valid DL to the court. The amendment makes this same provision available to non-drivers. This is good EXCEPT it is illogical and inconsistent that non-drivers must show a DL to get the charge dropped — any form of ID should be acceptable.

At the long hearing (45 minutes? The chairperson eventually cut off citizens wishing to speak) no one mentioned or questioned exactly what would, or would not suffice for “evidence of identity”. In other words, who can or can’t issue “evidence of identity”? Can the person issue their own? (if not, why not?) The law doesn’t say; seems strange.

My suspicion is it was intentionally vague on this point for all these years (it’s been on the books for at least decades/ i need to dig up the history) in an attempt to avoid a constitutional question (I mean a separate and distinct question from the Atkins decision); and so it will remain so.

Here are some clues, from Atkins, quoting In Re Moises L. 199 Ariz. 432, 18 P.3d 1231 applying to drivers (my emphasis):

sufficiently definite to provide notice to Arizona drivers that they must carry evidence of identity in a form comparable in content and reliability to a driver’s license.”

The obvious question being what does “and reliability” mean? and why is it not part of the law? (did the court just dream that up?).

House Rules Committee 2/6/2017

Interestingly, the rules committee “discussed and held” the bill due to concerns (see the hearing at HB2305 under “videos”; the discussion of this one bill begins around 21:25 and takes up the entire last 10 minutes of the meeting). The committee’s lawyer says he has some problems (but not really any of my problems), he says can be fixed with a floor amendment. Many members raised “constitutional” concerns about having to carry “papers” for non-drivers. So maybe cooler heads will prevail.
The questions seemed to revolve only around passengers inside a vehicle; and they didn’t much get into others (peds?)