Supreme Court: "Get a warrant."

Supreme Court Answers Question Regarding Privacy of a Cell Phone.

To search your cell phone or electronic device incident to arrest the authorities must obtain a separate search warrant.

To search your cell phone or electronic device incident to arrest the authorities must obtain a separate search warrant.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday June 25, 2014 unanimously ruled that police may not search the cell phones of criminal suspects upon arrest without a warrant. This means that unlike many of your personal belongings like a wallet or a purse that may be searched upon arrest, your cell phone may not be searched without your consent, or a valid search warrant. 

        The Supreme Court today made a great step in the right direction affording suspected criminals the right to privacy on their electronic devices today regarding a person's 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Police departments around the country will have to change their policy regarding searching suspect's cell phones and other electronic devices. Evidence obtained through the search of a defendant's cell phone without a warrant will be inadmissible in court. This can include phone numbers, text messages, pictures, video, addresses, or anything else used as evidence. Information contained on a persons electronic device must be held as private to the cell phone owner and can not be searched until a warrant is obtained. This does not mean that they can never search your cell phone, it just means they must obtain a warrant first. 

Police must get a warrant before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest.

Police must get a warrant before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest.

        ``The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought," according to the ruling. "Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant."

       If you have been arrested or are under suspicion of committing a crime in South Carolina, you need to call a criminal defense attorney immediately to protect your rights. Do not consent to the authorities or police searching your cell phone until you have consulted with an attorney. In Charleston, SC the police may try to use any evidence obtained against you to prosecute you for any crime. Have your 4th Amendment rights protected and keep what is your private information private. 

       Imagine a night out on the town with friends in which you are taking pictures at the bar. On the way home, your driver gets pulled over for DUI or Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. Before this court ruling, the police could have potentially searched everyone's cell phone in the car, keeping all pictures which may aid in the prosecution. What they may not do now, is do exactly that without a valid search warrant. Without those pictures the prosecution may not be able to prove its case for a charge of drunk driving. Same goes for drug trafficking or manufacturing, possession of marijuana/cocaine, or potential probation violations for associating with the wrong people. 

Don't let a cop go through your cell phone unless they have a warrant or you have spoken with a criminal defense attorney about your rights. 

Don't let a cop go through your cell phone unless they have a warrant or you have spoken with a criminal defense attorney about your rights. 

        If you have questions regarding your rights, please call the Law Offices of Thomas A. Smith as soon as possible. I handle matters including Criminal Defense, DUI Defense, Drug Related Defense, Violent Crimes, Personal Injury Claims, Auto Accident Claims, Family Law Matters, and many more in the extended Charleston, SC Lowcountry region which includes: James Island, Mt. Pleasant, Folly Beach, Johns Island, Daniel Island, West Ashley, Summerville, North Charleston, Hanahan, Goose Creek, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Seabrook Island, Kiawah Island, Edisto Island, Edisto Beach, Moncks Corner, Dorchester, Ladson, Wadmalaw Island, Mc Clellanville, Awendaw, Huger, Ridgeville, Jacksonboro, Ravenel, Hollywood, Pinopolis, Adams Run & Cottageville. Includes Charleston County, Berkeley County, Dorchester County, and Colleton County.