Cellphones have become the norm rather than the exception in our society. As the usage and capabilities of cellphones continue to increase, it has led to new legal issues. At Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey, our attorneys want to ensure you stay informed of these changes.
In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that police must obtain a search warrant before searching the contents of a cellphone seized after an arrest. The Court noted that cellphones are unlike other objects that might be kept on an arrested person. In today’s world, cellphones are mini-computers that can also function as a camera, video player, calendar, Rolodex, tape recorder, library, diary, album, television, map, or newspaper. They contain personal information and private records that police are not entitled to without a warrant.
However, the Court also acknowledged that there could be exceptions in cases with imminent danger, such as the cellphone being used as an explosive or if the police suspect an individual may be using their cellphone to delete evidence.
It is essential to note that this ruling only applies to cellphone searches conducted by law enforcement officers during an arrest. It does not extend to other forms of searches, such as those conducted during routine traffic stops or in other situations.
At Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey, we believe it is crucial for individuals to understand their rights when it comes to cellphone searches. If you or someone you know is ever subjected to an unwarranted search of their cellphone, a skilled attorney can help protect your rights.