Contrary to other well-meaning reports, the Hiibel case does not mean that you are required to show ID to police for no reason at all. The case says that a state can pass a statute which requires suspects stopped based on reasonable suspicion of involvement in a crime to identify themselves (verbally). The case stops short of requiring people to carry ID.

That having been said, its not a good ruling for privacy or for the right against self-incrimination.

If everyone has the right to refuse to answer, refusal to answer doesn’t necessarily mean any thing suspicious, though police may be suspicious anyway. Nonetheless, there’s nothing that they can do about that suspicion, unless it, along with other factors gives probably cause to arrest.

However, if only guilty people have the right to refuse to answer, refusal to answer means (a) the suspect is innocent and either doesn’t know the law, or is intentionally violating the law (b) the suspect is guilty of something, thus justified in refusing under the 5th Amendment. Everyone who fails to answer is guilty of something, either of violating the stop-and-identify statute, or of some underlying offense, and can be arrested. The police may not know at the time that the refusal is related to an underlying offense, but they can still arrest for probable cause that the stop-and-identify statute was violated. So now, the suspect can definitely be arrested.

Follow this further. People arrested and charged with violating the stop-and-identify statute are either guilty of that offense, or must defend themselves on the Fifth Amendment ground that the disclosure would have incriminated them about something else, which, of course, they can’t be compelled to admit. Catch-22.