Friday, June 25, 2004

Department of Safety authorizes use of Certificate of Driving to identify drivers, state troopers retain discretion

"State troopers will honor new driving certificates for immigrants as valid identification, even though they are stamped with the words 'not valid for ID.' The previously unannounced policy surprised and angered some supporters of the new law yesterday, even as it pleased others."

"Earlier this month, Department of Safety officials said they would advise state troopers and local law enforcement to reject the certificates as identification, but yesterday spokeswoman Beth Denton said troopers will accept the wallet-sized laminated cards as valid ID when issuing misdemeanor tickets."

"However, she said, 'it's important to know that troopers retain the discretion and authority to maintain that an individual can properly identify themselves.'"

"It's uncertain whether all police departments will honor the certificates as ID. ... Nashville's police will honor the certificate, while others across the state have asked their legal departments to advise them on the issue."

"Until it is clear what various police departments will do, [David] Lubell's group [Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition] is advising immigrants who get the certificates to carry extra ID, such as a passport, in their cars."

The Tennessean

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