Being arrested for a crime can be a very frightening experience, especially if it has never happened to you before. It is easy to get caught up in trying to protect yourself by simply agreeing to any requests by the arresting officer, including searches of your property that might otherwise require a warrant. While becoming confrontational with law enforcement is not likely to be in your best interest, knowing your rights certainly is. Any violation of your rights could result in the charges against you being dismissed completely, which, as of last year, includes a warrantless search of your cell phone.
Search of Your Person
When you are arrested or detained, an arresting officer is permitted to conduct a search of your person for items that would present a danger both to him or her and to yourself. The search is also designed to prevent the destruction of evidence currently on your person, including controlled substances, drug paraphernalia, or other proof of criminal activity. Last summer, however, the United States Supreme Court declined to extend permission to the search of electronic devices, ruling instead that a warrant based on probable cause is required first.
The proliferation of mobile digital technology is creating new legal challenges around the world. In light of social evolution, however, the Supreme Court recognized that information contained on a cell phone presents no immediate threat to law enforcement, and that the destruction of physical evidence contained on the phone is not of great enough concern to justify warrantless searches. Further, the Court maintained that much of the information viewable on a cell phone or mobile device is actually stored on servers belonging to wireless carriers and other entities. Accessing information from such entities in other settings requires a subpoena, a court order, or warrant, and a warrantless search incident to arrest should not override those requirements.
If you are facing any type of criminal charges and your cell phone was searched with your consent or a warrant, your Fourth Amendment rights may have been violated. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney for assistance with your case. Our team has worked with hundred of clients facing difficult situations and are prepared to help you protect your future. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule your initial consultation today.