Recently, the United States Supreme Court handed down an important victory for individual privacy interests. In Riley v. California, the Supreme Court held that police need a warrant before they search the contents of an arrested person’s phone. The general rule regarding police searches is that a warrant is required in order for the search to be constitutional. However, warrantless searches are justified under certain circumstances. The holding in this case was based on the fact that a warrantless search of a phone could not be justified by either officer safety or the potential destruction of evidence. Without either of these two justifications, a warrant is required prior to an officer searching an arrested person’s phone.
If you are ever in a situation where an officer has arrested you and attempted to search the contents of your phone, it is important that you demand a warrant prior to the search. If an officer searches your phone without a warrant, any evidence obtained pursuant to this search could potentially be barred from use during your criminal case. If you have questions about “search cell phone without warrant”, please call our office to have your questions answered.