When can the police take your telephone? – Omaha protection attorneys

The United States Constitution grants you numerous rights, including the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement. This right extends to your person, your house and your belongings, including your cell phone. Understandably, people want to know: can the police take your phone? In most cases the answer is no.

If you believe that your phone has been illegally confiscated and it resulted in an arrest related to criminal activity, you may have the right to take legal action. To learn more, contact an experienced Criminal lawyer in Nebraska.

At Petersen Criminal Law, we receive many questions about unlawful search and seizure. Can the police seize your phone? Can the police take your phone without a warrant? Here’s what you need to know about your rights when it comes to your cell phone.

When can the police pick up or search your phone?

In most cases, the police will need a valid search warrant to take your phone or search it for information. This also applies to any information that you would like to receive from your mobile operator. In 2018 the US Supreme Court decided that digital recordings from third parties are not accessible without guarantee under all circumstances.

Can the police get you to unlock your phone so they can search it?

Can the police search your phone if they already have your phone? Can they trick you into giving them the password or use facial recognition to unlock it? If you don’t open it, can the police take your phone as evidence?

You cannot be compelled or compelled to unlock your phone to local law enforcement without a warrant. This is part of your fifth right to amend against self-blame. Even if unlocking your phone could help your case, you shouldn’t volunteer to do it without first speaking to a lawyer.

Prosecution between the federal government and the states

It is important to note that the rules differ at the federal and state levels. Federal law enforcement agencies, in most cases, can access your phone records without first getting an arrest warrant. Your wireless service provider doesn’t need to notify you that a federal agency has requested your records. For example, if the federal government sends out a subpoena, the Patriot Act doesn’t require your cellular operator to notify you.

Exceptions to the need for a warrant to search your phone

An exception to the need for an arrest warrant is consent. The police may search your phone content without guarantee if you give your consent freely and voluntarily. Consent does not extend to threats or intimidation. If you agree to unlock it because the officer yells at you or threatens you, this does not constitute voluntary consent.

Another possible exception is urgent circumstances. Urgent circumstances are when there is a real emergency that warrants a legitimate search. An example would be if the data on your phone could prevent someone from getting physically injured or if you could help track down an issue on the run.

What to do if you believe your rights have been violated

If you believe your rights have been violated, you can challenge any evidence presented after an illegal phone search. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Nebraska can file a motion to suppress illegally obtained evidence, which could result in the charges being reduced or even dismissed entirely.

Attorney Tom Petersen has more than two decades of experience defending clients in criminal matters, including cases of constitutional violations. Contact Petersen Law Today you will learn how we can help you protect your rights and prepare the best possible defense.

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