When the Police search your phone that search must be supported by a valid search warrant. Many people today carry all sorts of information on their phone. It may just be funny cat videos to share with friends, family pictures, or extremely sensitive information like social security numbers and banking passwords. If you are arrested, will law enforcement have the ability to search the contents of your phone? What if your phone contains incriminating information? Could this be used in your trial to convict you of a crime? In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court attempted to answer many of these questions. The Court held that police officers generally need warrants to search the cellphones of arrestees. This means that, absent your consent, a law enforcement officer will need to obtain a warrant to be able to access any information on your phone.
Assert And Protect Your Valuable Constitutional Rights
Your constitutional rights are valuable and should never be taken lightly in any situation. Law enforcement officers know the law and the U.S. Constitution. They also know how to take advantage of those members of the general public who are not fully aware of how these crucial rights protect them from illegal government conduct. An experienced Oklahoma criminal defense attorney can help you assert these rights if you are the victim of an illegal government search or seizure and your right to remain silent when the Police question you about a crime.
4th Amendment and Search and Seizure
The 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects American citizens and noncitizens from unreasonable police searches. The 4th Amendment protects your reasonable expectation of privacy by regulating the parameters of police searches. This means limiting when and how the police may conduct a search. This right not only extends into your home but also to your papers, personal effects, and physical body. It is important to note that the 4th Amendment allows the police to conduct reasonable searches. Only unreasonable searches are illegal under the 4th Amendment.
If a warrantless search occurs when police officers should have obtained a search warrant, a court will likely consider the search unconstitutional, and any evidence obtained resulting from the search may not be introduced by the prosecution in any trial. Searches may also be based on illegal warrants with the same result that any seized evidence is inadmissible at trial.
Cell Phone Searches in Oklahoma
In Riley vs. California, the Supreme Court ruled that police may not search the contents of your cell phone without first obtaining a search warrant, even after a valid, legal arrest. This decision was based on the determination that your cell phone generally contains more information than your home. A cell phone, especially one with an immense storage capacity, contains private, sensitive information like your home. A cell phone acts like a window into various aspects of your life. As a result, the Court ruled that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in cell phones and the information that they access.
When Can The Police Search Your Phone Without A Warrant?
Like most areas of constitutional law, there are exceptions to the rule that police must first obtain a warrant before searching your cell phone. The police may search your cell phone if they have probable cause of evidence of a crime and believe the evidence might be imminently destroyed.
The presence of “exigent circumstances”—or circumstances requiring emergency action—allows law enforcement personnel to act without a warrant when severe circumstances exist. If police officers believe the only way to prevent the loss of a phone’s data is to search at present, they can conduct a warrantless search. Officers can also legally search a phone if they have cause to believe that doing so will prevent the commission of a serious, life-threatening crime.
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Tulsa Criminal Defense In Your Corner
Every American citizen has constitutional rights. Put simply, every American citizen has rights that are crucial to the existence and perpetuation of a democratic society. The criminal defense attorneys at Kania Law Office have helped countless Oklahomans assert and protect their valuable constitutional rights in many cases involving illegal police searches and seizures. We can help ensure your rights are protected. For more information about how our Oklahoma criminal defense lawyers can help you, call 918-743-2233 or contact us online.
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