When police suspect you of a crime, do they have the right to search through
your Smartphone without a warrant? Smartphones and similar mobile devices
often contain a wealth of information, including names and contact information
for various people you know, photos, video clips, Internet activity, and
It's no wonder that police officers are often eager to get their hands
on all of this information, as the evidence may serve as compelling proof
of your involvement in any number of crimes.
However, the Supreme Court recently
reached a decision that limits the ability of law enforcement officers to search your mobile
device without a warrant. Their decision was based on two cases, one from
California and the other from Massachusetts, in which police secured key
evidence for convicting the defendants based on information uncovered
during warrantless cellphone searches. In one case, the defendant had
been arrested on suspicion of drug dealing; the police then found a phone
number on his cellphone that led them to his house, where they discovered
more drugs and other evidence. In the other case, a photograph found on
a Smartphone was a key part of the evidence linking the defendant to a
criminal incident involving guns.
The Supreme Court reached a unanimous ruling that in both of these cases,
it was unconstitutional for police officers to search the mobile devices
without a warrant.
According to the court, there may be some emergency situations where a
search without a warrant would be permitted. (What constitutes an emergency
in a given situation could be up for debate.) But in general, police officers
would have to obtain a warrant first, justifying why they believe the
search of a mobile device is necessary and relevant, and not just part
of a broad, unfocused and spontaneous search that could yield what appears
to be incriminating evidence against you.
Protecting your privacy and constitutional rights is crucial for preventing
the overreach of law enforcement. If you live in or near Temecula, Murrieta,
Menifee, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Perris, Banning, Corona, Hemet or Riverside
and law enforcement officers subject you to a search without a warrant,
don't hesitate to
contact our law firm to review your case and help ensure that your legal rights are protected.
We can help!