U.S. Supreme Court Police officers

California cannot abridge this constitutional rule by making it a crime to refuse to answer police questions during a [461 U. S. 352, 367]   Terry encounter, any more than it could abridge the protections of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments by making it a crime to refuse to answer police questions once a suspect has been taken into custody. To begin, the statute at issue in this case could not be constitutional unless the intrusions on Fourth Amendment rights it occasions were necessary to advance some specific, legitimate state interest not already taken into account by the constitutional analysis described above.

Yet appellants do not claim that 647(e) advances any interest other than general facilitation of police investigation and preservation of public order – factors addressed at length in Terry, Davis, and Dunaway. Nor do appellants show that the power to arrest and to impose a criminal sanction, in addition to the power to detain and to pose questions under the aegis of state authority, is so necessary in pursuit of the State's legitimate interests as to justify the substantial additional intrusion on individuals' rights.

Compare Brief for Appellants 18-19 (asserting that 647(e) is justified by state interest in "detecting and preventing crime" and "protecting the citizenry from criminal acts"), and People v. Solomon, 33 Cal. App. 3d 429, 436-437, 108 Cal. Rptr. 867, 872 (1973) ( 647(e) justified by "the public need involved," i. e. , "protection of society against crime"), with United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, supra, at 884 (federal interest in immigration control permits stops at the border itself without reasonable suspicion), and California v. Byers, 402 U. S. 424, 456 -458 (1971) (Harlan, J. , concurring in judgment) (state interest in regulating automobiles justifies making it a crime to refuse to stop after an automobile accident and report it).

Thus, because the State's interests extend only so far as to justify the limited searches and seizures defined by Terry, the balance of interests described in that case and its progeny must control. Second, it goes without saying that arrest and the threat of a criminal sanction have a substantial impact on interests protected by the Fourth Amendment, far more severe than [461 U. S. 352, 368]  we have ever permitted on less than probable cause.

Furthermore, the likelihood that innocent persons accosted by law enforcement officers under authority of 647(e) will have no realistic means to protect their rights compounds the severity of the intrusions on individual liberty that this statute will occasion. The arrests it authorizes make a mockery of the right enforced in Brown v. Texas, 443 U. S. 47 (1979), in which we held squarely that a State may not make it a crime to refuse to provide identification on demand in the absence of reasonable suspicion.

5 If 647(e) remains in force, the validity of such arrests will be open to challenge only after the fact, in individual prosecutions for failure to produce identification. Such case-by-case scrutiny cannot vindicate the Fourth Amendment rights of persons like appellee, many of whom will not even be prosecuted after they are arrested, see ante, at 354. A pedestrian approached by police officers has no way of knowing whether the officers have "reasonable suspicion" – without which they may not demand identification even under 647(e), ante, at 356, and n.

5 – because that condition depends solely on the objective facts known to the officers and evaluated in light of their experience, see Terry v. Ohio, 392 U. S. , at 30 ; United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U. S. , at 884 -885. The pedestrian will know that to assert his rights may subject him to arrest and all that goes with it: new acquaintances among jailers, lawyers, prisoners, and bail bondsmen, firsthand knowledge of local jail conditions, a "search incident to arrest," and the expense of defending against a possible prosecution. 

The only response to be [461 U. S. 352, 369]   expected is compliance with the officers' requests, whether or not they are based on reasonable suspicion, and without regard to the possibility of later vindication in court. Mere reasonable suspicion does not justify subjecting the innocent to such a dilemma. 7 By defining as a crime the failure to respond to requests for personal information during a Terry encounter, and by permitting arrests upon commission of that crime, California attempts in this statute to compel what may not be compelled under the Constitution. Even if 647(e) were not unconstitutionally vague, the Fourth Amendment would prohibit its enforcement.

[ Footnote 1 ] We have not in recent years found a state statute invalid directly under the Fourth Amendment, but we have long recognized that the government may not "authorize police conduct which trenches upon Fourth Amendment rights, regardless of the labels which it attaches to such conduct. " Sibron v. New York, 392 U. S. 40, 61 (1968). In Sibron, and in numerous other cases, the Fourth Amendment issue arose in the context of a motion by the defendant in a criminal prosecution to suppress evidence against him obtained as the result of a police search or seizure of his person or property.

The question thus has always been whether particular conduct by the police violated the Fourth Amendment, and we have not had to reach the question whether state law purporting to authorize such conduct also offended the Constitution. In this case, however, appellee Edward Lawson has been repeatedly arrested under authority of the California statute, and he has shown that he will likely be subjected to further seizures by the police in the future if the statute remains in force.

See Los Angeles v. Lyons, ante, at 105-109; Gomez v. Layton, 129 U. S. App. D. C. 289, 394 F. 2d 764 (1968). It goes without saying that the Fourth Amendment safeguards the rights of those who are not prosecuted for crimes as well as the rights of those who are. [ Footnote 2 ] A brief detention is usually sufficient as a practical matter to accomplish all legitimate law enforcement objectives with respect to individuals whom the police do not have probable cause to arrest.

For longer detentions, even though they fall short of a full arrest, we have demanded not only a high standard of law enforcement necessity, but also objective indications that an individual would not consider the detention significantly intrusive. Compare Dunaway v. New York, 442 U. S. , at 212 -216 (seizure of suspect without probable cause and custodial interrogation in police station violates Fourth Amendment), and Davis v. Mississippi, 394 U. S. 721, 727 -728 (1969) (suspect may not be summarily detained and taken to police station for fingerprinting but may be ordered to appear at a specific time), [461 U. S. 352, 364]  with Michigan v. Summers, 452 U. S. 692, 701 -705 (1981) (suspect may be detained in his own home without probable cause for time necessary to search the premises pursuant to a valid warrant supported by probable cause). See also Florida v. Royer, 460 U. S. 491, 500 (1983) (opinion of WHITE, J. ) ("least intrusive means" requirement for searches not supported by probable cause). [ Footnote 3 ]

Police officers may have a similar power with respect to persons whom they reasonably believe to be material witnesses to a specific crime. See, e. g. , ALI Model Code of Pre-Arraignment Procedure 110. 2(1)(b) (Proposed Official Draft 1975).