The sheriff's department in Humboldt County, Nevada, received an afternoon telephone call reporting an assault. The caller reported seeing a man assault a woman in a red and silver GMC truck on Grass Valley Road. Deputy Sheriff Lee Dove was dispatched to investigate. When the officer arrived at the scene, he found the truck parked on the side of the road. A man was standing by the truck, and a young woman was sitting inside it. The officer observed skid marks in the gravel behind the vehicle, leading him to believe it had come to a sudden stop.
The officer approached the man and explained that he was investigating a report of a fight. The man appeared to be intoxicated. The officer asked him if he had "any identification on [him]," which we understand as a request to produce a driver's license or some other form of written identification. The man refused and asked why the officer wanted to see identification. The officer responded that he was conducting an investigation and needed to see some identification. The unidentified man became agitated and insisted he had done nothing wrong.
The officer explained that he wanted to find out who the man was and what he was doing there. After continued refusals to comply with the officer's request for identification, the man began to taunt the officer by placing his hands behind his back and telling the officer to arrest him and take him to jail. This routine kept up for several minutes: the officer asked for identification 11 times and was refused each time. After warning the man that he would be arrested if he continued to refuse to comply, the officer placed him under arrest.
We now know that the man arrested on Grass Valley Road is Larry Dudley Hiibel. Hiibel was charged with "willfully resist[ing], delay[ing], or obstruct[ing] a public officer in discharging or attempting to discharge any legal duty of his office" in violation of Nev. Rev. Stat. (NRS) §199. 280 (2003). The government reasoned that Hiibel had obstructed the officer in carrying out his duties under §171. 123, a Nevada statute that defines the legal rights and duties of a police officer in the context of an investigative stop. Section 171. 123 provides in relevant part: "1.
Any peace officer may detain any person whom the officer encounters under circumstances which reasonably indicate that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. . . . . . "3. The officer may detain the person pursuant to this section only to ascertain his identity and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his presence abroad. Any person so detained shall identify himself, but may not be compelled to answer any other inquiry of any peace officer. " Hiibel was tried in the Justice Court of Union Township. The court agreed that Hiibel's refusal to identify himself as required by §171.
123 "obstructed and delayed Dove as a public officer in attempting to discharge his duty" in violation of §199. 280. App. 5. Hiibel was convicted and fined $250. The Sixth Judicial District Court affirmed, rejecting Hiibel's argument that the application of §171. 123 to his case violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. On review the Supreme Court of Nevada rejected the Fourth Amendment challenge in a divided opinion. 118 Nev. 868, 59 P. 3d 1201 (2002). Hiibel petitioned for rehearing, seeking explicit resolution of his Fifth Amendment challenge. The petition was denied without opinion.
We granted certiorari. 540 U. S. 965 (2003). NRS §171. 123(3) is an enactment sometimes referred to as a "stop and identify" statute. See Ala. Code §15-5-30 (West 2003); Ark. Code Ann. §5-71-213(a)(1) (2004); Colo. Rev. Stat. §16-3-103(1) (2003); Del. Code Ann. , Tit. 11, §§1902(a), 1321(6) (2003); Fla. Stat. §856. 021(2) (2003); Ga. Code Ann. §16-11-36(b) (2003); Ill. Comp. Stat. , ch. 725, §5/107-14 (2004); Kan. Stat. Ann. §22-2402(1) (2003); La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. , Art. 215. 1(A) (West 2004); Mo. Rev. Stat. §84. 710(2) (2003); Mont. Code Ann. §46-5-401(2)(a) (2003); Neb. Rev.
Stat. §29-829 (2003); N. H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§594:2 and 644:6 (Lexis 2003); N. M. Stat. Ann. §30-22-3 (2004); N. Y. Crim. Proc. Law §140. 50(1) (West 2004); N. D. Cent. Code §29-29-21 (2003); R. I. Gen. Laws §12-7-1 (2003); Utah Code Ann. §77-7-15 (2003); Vt. Stat. Ann. , Tit. 24, §1983 (Supp. 2003); Wis. Stat. §968. 24 (2003). See also Note, Stop and Identify Statutes: A New Form of an Inadequate Solution to an Old Problem, 12 Rutgers L. J. 585 (1981); Note, Stop-and-Identify Statutes After Kolender v. Lawson: Exploring the Fourth and Fifth Amendment Issues, 69 Iowa L. Rev. 1057 (1984).
Stop and identify statutes often combine elements of traditional vagrancy laws with provisions intended to regulate police behavior in the course of investigatory stops. The statutes vary from State to State, but all permit an officer to ask or require a suspect to disclose his identity. A few States model their statutes on the Uniform Arrest Act, a model code that permits an officer to stop a person reasonably suspected of committing a crime and "demand of him his name, address, business abroad and whither he is going. " Warner, The Uniform Arrest Act, 28 Va. L. Rev. 315, 344 (1942).
Other statutes are based on the text proposed by the American Law Institute as part of the Institute's Model Penal Code. See ALI, Model Penal Code, §250. 6, Comment 4, pp. 392-393 (1980). The provision, originally designated §250. 12, provides that a person who is loitering "under circumstances which justify suspicion that he may be engaged or about to engage in crime commits a violation if he refuses the request of a peace officer that he identify himself and give a reasonably credible account of the lawfulness of his conduct and purposes. " §250. 12 (Tentative Draft No. 13) (1961).
In some States, a suspect's refusal to identify himself is a misdemeanor offense or civil violation; in others, it is a factor to be considered in whether the suspect has violated loitering laws. In other States, a suspect may decline to identify himself without penalty. Stop and identify statutes have their roots in early English vagrancy laws that required suspected vagrants to face arrest unless they gave "a good Account of themselves," 15 Geo. 2, ch. 5, §2 (1744), a power that itself reflected common-law rights of private persons to "arrest any suspicious night-walker, and detain him till he give a good account of himself ...."
2 W. Hawkins, Pleas of the Crown, ch. 13, §6, p. 130. (6th ed. 1787). In recent decades, the Court has found constitutional infirmity in traditional vagrancy laws. In Papachristou v. Jacksonville, 405 U. S. 156 (1972), the Court held that a traditional vagrancy law was void for vagueness. Its broad scope and imprecise terms denied proper notice to potential offenders and permitted police officers to exercise unfettered discretion in the enforcement of the law. See id. , at 167-171.
The Court has recognized similar constitutional limitations on the scope and operation of stop and identify statutes. In Brown v. Texas, 443 U. S. 47, 52 (1979), the Court invalidated a conviction for violating a Texas stop and identify statute on Fourth Amendment grounds. The Court ruled that the initial stop was not based on specific, objective facts establishing reasonable suspicion to believe the suspect was involved in criminal activity. See id. , at 51-52. Absent that factual basis for detaining the defendant, the Court held, the risk of "arbitrary and abusive police practices" was too great and the stop was impermissible. Id. , at 52. Four Terms later, the Court invalidated a modified stop and identify statute on vagueness grounds.
See Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U. S. 352 (1983). The California law in Kolender required a suspect to give an officer " 'credible and reliable' " identification when asked to identify himself. Id. , at 360. The Court held that the statute was void because it provided no standard for determining what a suspect must do to comply with it, resulting in " 'virtually unrestrained power to arrest and charge persons with a violation. ' " Id. , at 360 (quoting Lewis v. New Orleans, 415 U. S. 130, 135 (1974) (Powell, J. , concurring in result)). The present case begins where our prior cases left off.
Here there is no question that the initial stop was based on reasonable suspicion, satisfying the Fourth Amendment requirements noted in Brown. Further, the petitioner has not alleged that the statute is unconstitutionally vague, as in Kolender. Here the Nevada statute is narrower and more precise. The statute in Kolender had been interpreted to require a suspect to give the officer "credible and reliable" identification. In contrast, the Nevada Supreme Court has interpreted NRS §171. 123(3) to require only that a suspect disclose his name.
See 118 Nev., at ___, 59 P. 3d, at 1206 (opinion of Young, C. J. ) ("The suspect is not required to provide private details about his background, but merely to state his name to an officer when reasonable suspicion exists"). As we understand it, the statute does not require a suspect to give the officer a driver's license or any other document. Provided that the suspect either states his name or communicates it to the officer by other means--a choice, we assume, that the suspect may make--the statute is satisfied and no violation occurs. See id. , at ___, 59 P. 3d, at 1206-1207.