When can cops search my cell phone? In these 4 scenarios


People ask me all the time,
when are the police allowed to search my phone, to look
on my iPhone, or my Samsung, or my BlackBerry and
look at photos, images, text messages, emails, web
browsing history, call history? And the answer is, only under
very limited circumstances. In fact, the courts have
said that there’s really only four situations where the
police are allowed to do this. First of all, if they have
a valid search warrant. Secondly, if you
give them consent, if you agree to allow
them to search your phone. And I tell people never,
ever give the police consent to search your phone, even
if you think there’s nothing incriminating on there,
because you never know how the
authorities will try to use your data against you. The third situation
where police are allowed to search your
phone is at the airport or at the borders. If you cross the border
or you go through security at the airport, courts have said
you have a lesser expectation of privacy, and
oftentimes the police are able to look through
your phone without a warrant. The fourth is
emergency situations. So for example, suppose you’re
suspected of being a kidnapper, and the police have
reason to believe that the location of
the kidnapping victim is on your phone. By the time they
got a warrant, it would be too late
to save that person. In an emergency
situation like that, often the police are allowed
to search your phone, although those are very rare
and exceptional situations. Now keep in mind,
if the police arrest you or they have probable
cause to believe that there’s incriminating information
on your phone, then many times they can
seize your phone and hold it until
they get a warrant. However, they’re not allowed
to search through the contents until they get that warrant. If you’ve been charged
with a crime that’s based at least in part on the
police seizing your phone, searching the contents, finding
alleged incriminating evidence on your phone, the good news is
that here at Shouse Law Group we’ve had a great deal
of success in challenging these searches in court, and
getting the evidence excluded from court, and oftentimes
getting our clients’ charges reduced or dismissed.

3 Replies to “When can cops search my cell phone? In these 4 scenarios

  1. here in norway they take you in and connect it to their "black box" and they store everything like your passwords/emails/numbers/sms/mms. so best thing i did was to have 2 phones, one new i have on me when i dont drive at night, and 1 new old version prepaid nokia phone that have 1 hole for data transfer, one hole 4 charging and one hole 4 headphones like this (nokia model 5030c-2) or just one hole for charging and one for data (nokia model 100) and i took a knife to the datatransfer hole and cleaned out most of the pins/metal so even if they take it in it will not work with any black box or cables and if they send it to someone and pay for it they still will not get anything cause the phone is always off with password on and there is no numbers on the phone or card since its only a phone i would use if in an accident. in norway its 50% bigger chance of beeing stopped after 19:30 to 05:30. and you dont get to call a lawyer maybe before it has gone 12 hours, even if your innocent and they just suspect you of maybe you were going to do something illigal later on. legaly they are only allowed to hold you for 4 hours if they think you are going to do something illigal later on but that law is broken more then all grandmas hips each year. even know of ppl sitting for 5 days in the cellar of the police station just because they think someone has done something, here they dont need evidence here they can send you to prison just because the cops think its you who have done it. know of ppl beeing sent to prison just because they were at a party and later on some guys from that party ended up in fights in the town, and some of the other party goers who was not fighting or in town got prison cause they were at the same party earlier. laws here are so old and wacky they dont make any sense.

  2. A friend was arrested at work on an arrest warrant for suspicion of theft. That night when he was being booked was told that he's also charged with poss with intent and para. He wasn't present when they found it and it was in a common area which dozens of people were in and had access to his bag . they took a lot of items from his desk, which is a shared desk including wallet , phone , keys. wallet had insurance card, health savings act and when tried to retrieve was told those were evidence. how is a health savings account card he uses for family dr visits and meds evidence? he hadn't been in that room for several hours. Can this stick?

    REPLY

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