McCain v. Commonwealth

In McCain v. Commonwealth, 261 Va. 483, 489-90, 545 S.E.2d 541, 545 (2001), which involved an officer's request for and receipt of identification and permission to search a parked car, the Supreme Court held, "a police request made in a public place for a person to produce some identification, by itself, generally does not constitute a Fourth Amendment seizure." 261 Va. at 491, 545 S.E.2d at 546. While appellant argues a request alone constitutes a seizure, McCain held it does not. In McCain, the officer simply asked for some identification and then requested and received permission to search the car; the officer then requested permission to search McCain, which McCain would not give. Id. at 491, 545 S.E.2d at 546. In McCain, an officer approached a stationary vehicle and asked McCain for identification. 261 Va. at 486-87, 545 S.E.2d at 543. McCain then gave the officer a valid driver's license. 261 Va. at 487, 545 S.E.2d at 543. The officer ran the license for outstanding warrants and found nothing. Id. After returning his license, the officer asked for and received from McCain permission to search the vehicle. Id. At trial, McCain argued he was detained when he complied with the officer's demand to produce identification. Rejecting this argument, the Supreme Court held: In the present case, Officer Thomas did not observe McCain operating a motor vehicle and did not require him to produce a driver's license pursuant to Code 46.2-104. Instead, Thomas approached McCain's vehicle, which was parked on the side of a road, and asked McCain and his companion "for some ID. " In sum, the request for identification occurred "without any show of force or display of authority that would have led a reasonable person to believe that he was not free to leave the scene of the encounter." Further, the officer conducted a warrant check and returned McCain's driver's license before seeking consent to search McCain's vehicle and person. Finally, when the officer said he needed to conduct a pat-down search for weapons, McCain refused and walked away. Under those circumstances, including McCain's refusal to submit to the officer's show of authority, the Court held that McCain was not seized.