Today’s cell phones are more like mini-computers than they are phones. The amount of data you can search, store, and share from your phone is immense. With the capabilities of modern cell devices, it is no wonder that most of us use our phones for work, recreation, and research. When you are able to pull up an image or vital information just by turning on your phone, your daily tasks can be completed much quicker, and with a high level of accuracy. But what do you do if your phone contains incriminating texts, emails, or photos? Is your cell phone and the things you have chosen to store on your phone, safe from a search?
A 2014 case from the country’s highest court has spoken on this issue. The State Supreme Court ruled as follows:
• Search of data contained on a cell phone is not permitted without a warrant.
• Your tablet or laptop is also likely to be protected by this ruling.
For these reasons, and others discussed at length by the Court, it was ruled that the search of a cell phone is not allowed. The Court was careful to point out that a lot of the information contained on a cell phone is just as private as what one might have in their home and made reference to the America’s early desire to prevent unwarranted searches. The court made special note of the fact that many of us store not only general information on our cell phones, but also information of a more intimate nature. The Court reasoned that it is the expectation of privacy in the more personal things being stored on a cell phone that are deserving of protection. Opposition to this ruling was quick to point out that warrantless searched have historically been permitted, for safety reasons. However, in the instance of a cell phone search that danger does not exist, because as sophisticated as cell phones have become it is unlikely they can be used as a weapon. If you have additional questions about this evolving area of the law, call our office for answers.
If you want more information about what the police can and cannot do with your cell phone, call our office today. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West.