In order to search a cell phone, a law enforcement officer must produce an affidavit to a judge and obtain a warrant. The judge can issue a search warrant if:
There are grounds to believe that the phone may have been stolen; or
It may have been used to commit a crime; or
It contains evidence that a crime has been committed
If the court issues the warrant then the enforcement officers who applied for it are entitled to search the cellphone.
In practice this means that the police need to have strong grounds to suspect that the phone contains incriminating evidence and be able to demonstrate this belief to the judge.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime it is common practice for the police to confiscate your cell phone. Many of us store our most intimate information on our mobile phones. Photos, videos, contact information and private messages are saved in a cell phone’s memory.
In the hands of law enforcement, this data can provide compelling evidence to secure a conviction
Police carrying out a search of someone’s personal phone when they have been arrested for a crime is forbidden without first getting a search warrant, like searching someone’s home or place of work, .
In the case of Cedric Smallwood v. State of Florida, who was arrested in January 2008 after he robbed a convenience store. Following Mr. Smallwood’s arrest, his phone was seized by law enforcement officers. Incriminating pictures were found on the phone and these pictures were produced in court as evidence before the jury.
Smallwood was sentenced to 65 years in jail for his offense and the pictures found on his phone were deemed to be highly influential in persuading the jury to find him guilty. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that the inappropriate seizing and searching of Smallwood’s phone has precluded him from having a fair trial. Cedric Smallwood was granted a new trial and the evidence sized from his cell phone was excluded .
Attorney Martin E. Regan, Jr. has successfully represented citizens accused of crimes for over 38 years. Mr. Regan knows the law and has been successful on many occasions in excluding unlawfully seized incriminating evidence. The Law Firm of Regan and Sandhu, P.L.C. is here to help you with all your legal needs.
It is important to secure competent legal counsel when you are accused of a crime, one who knows your rights, the law and has the courage to stand up for you.
About Martin E. Regan, Jr.
Year after year, Martin E. Regan Jr., the firm’s senior partner, has dedicated tireless efforts on behalf of the accused and produce wins for clients that a less determined advocate would have thought hopeless. Martin E. Regan Jr.’s ability to tackle and win tough criminal cases has resulted in verdicts of acquittal in many highly publicized trials.