AZ Law To Jail Vehicle Passengers That Do Not Have ID
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A proposed law in Arizona would require vehicle passengers to carry identification. Current law only requires the driver of a vehicle to carry a drivers license, which serves as evidence of identity.
If this bill passes, a passenger would also be required to have evidence of identity. Failure to do so would be a class 2 misdemeanor, which allows for up to four months in jail by current state law, and a $750 fine. Comrade Anthony Kern (R-Dist. 20) introduced HB 2305 this week.
Legislators voiced concerns over this proposal.
Rep. Paul Mosley, R-Lake Havasu City, said he was not comforted by the fact that a police officer would need reasonable suspicion before pulling someone over and getting a chance to question the driver and occupants.
“If I’m driving 10 miles and I’m being followed by a peace officer, law officer, he’s going to find a reason to pull me over,” he said.
Rep. Jesus Rubalcava, D-Gila Bend, pointed out that could be as simple as failing to be belted in. The net effect, he said, is converting what would otherwise be a civil citation into a criminal matter simply because the passenger does not have suitable ID.
It’s even broader than that, said Rep. Richard Andrade, D-Glendale. He said a bicyclist without identification who rolls through a crosswalk also would be subject to criminal sanctions.
And Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott, said the way the measure is worded would create criminals out of children, who don’t normally carry ID.
Yet, these representatives of the people were not concerned enough to stop the bill. Both Mosley and Campbell agreed to support the measure to let it go to the full House.
Steve Kilar, spokesperson with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, said the proposal would ascribe a harsh punishment for a minor violation.
“This proposal takes us one step closer to a society in which we’re required to carry identification whenever we leave our homes,” he said. “Furthermore, it needlessly piles criminal penalties onto civil violations, which would lead to huge fines and fees for otherwise minor violations. We don’t need people branded criminals simply because they failed to carry—or do not have—an ID card.”