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How Much Can Police Go Through Your Phone When You Are Arrested?
In: Criminal Law

How Much Can Police Go Through Your Phone When You Are Arrested?

In the vast majority of situations, law enforcement officers must have a legal search warrant to search through the information on a cell phone. The cell phone owner can also give law enforcement officers consent to search through the cell phone, and if this is the case, then a search warrant is not required.

However, many exceptions apply to the search warrant requirement. For example, the presence of exigent circumstances permits police officers to look through a mobile phone without the owner’s consent or a search warrant. The officers must know facts that cause them to reach a reasonable conclusion that a genuine emergency exists. For example, a bomb scare or other violent catastrophe that might occur may constitute exigent circumstances. Other exigent circumstances include preventing evidence of a crime from being destroyed, chasing a fleeing felon, and assisting someone who is being threatened with impending injury.

Even without a warrant, law enforcement officers can seize a mobile phone if you are placed under arrest. The officers may keep the phone until a search warrant is procured. But police officers must request a search warrant from a neutral and detached magistrate, such as a federal judge or a state judge.

Officers must have probable cause to believe that a criminal offense has occurred and that a search of the mobile phone’s contents will unveil evidence of the crime. A search warrant does not give the officers the right to search anywhere for anything that comes into their minds. Valid search warrants must specify the place to be searched and the items or things to be seized.

What Should I Do If The Police Want to Search Through My Cell Phone?

The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker can help you if you have been charged with a crime or if you believe your Fourth Amendment rights were violated by law enforcement officers when they searched through your cell phone. A knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney can help you enforce your legal rights and make sure that you are not a victim of police officers overstepping the boundaries of the law.

If you are pulled over by police officers, and an officer asks to search through your cellular phone, then you should refuse in a polite manner. Do not consent to a search of your cellular phone because the law enforcement officer will be able to look through anything on your phone in this case, and you do not know what they might consider to be incriminating. If you consent to a search, anything the officer finds on your phone can be used against you if the state indicts you for any criminal offenses.

Contact a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are charged with a crime in Texas, then your best move is to contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker. If you think police officers may have illegally searched your cell phone, discuss the matter with our firm. Schedule a consultation during which we can discuss the facts of the search and the best defenses that may be applicable to your case. Contact our Fort Worth criminal defense attorney today.