CAN THE POLICE SEARCH MY CELL PHONE AFTER AN ARREST WITHOUT A WARRANT?

Attorney James K. Minick

Attorney James Minick — The NC DWI Guy

Under the 4th Amendment, the Constitution states that an individual is to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures in their homes and on their persons. This is primarily due to the fact that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in these locations. However, does the 4th Amendment protect an individual’s cell phone from search by a police officer after an arrest?

Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

From the language of the 4th Amendment, it seams that the Constitution prevents the police from conducting warrantless searches. However, this is not always true. In previous cases, the Supreme Court has stated that warrantless searches are allowed under a variety of defined exceptions.

Riley v. California

In Riley v. California, the Supreme Court reviewed whether the police were allowed to search a suspect’s cell phone without a warrant for incriminating information following an arrest. After deliberating on this case, the Supreme Court voted 9-0 that police officers are not allowed to search a cell phone without a warrant. This unequivocal rejection of warrantless searches of cell phones was based on the fact that modern technology allows for such a wealth of information to be gleaned from an individual’s cell phone that the Constitution prevents searches without a warrant.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know have been charged with a criminal charge based off a search of their cell conducted without a warrant, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case and possibly get the evidence excluded. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.

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