Reading Texts Without a Warrant

Posted By Law Office of Peacock & Le Beau || 2-Jun-2015

In today’s day and age, cell phones are everything. They remind us of doctor appointments, alert us to important messages from loved ones, and keep us in tune with all that is going on in our social circles. With so much information stored on these valuable devices, it only makes sense that the question has arisen: What rights do police officers have in regards to personal cell phones?

Unfortunately, the answer might be less than satisfactory. According to a court ruling made in 2011, California police officers are legally allowed to search cell phones without first obtaining a warrant. What this could mean for you is discussed below.

Warrantless Searches are Commonplace in California

The aforementioned 2011 court decision involved a man arrested for drug possession. Immediately after being arrested, his cell phone was confiscated by police and subjected to an in-depth search. The information found by law enforcement in the man’s text messages was then used to charge him with a felony offense.

Based on this case, it was concluded that police can search items found on arrested defendants without a warrant, which includes cell phones and text messages. The personal nature of text messages can make it much easier for law enforcement to successfully charge arrested individuals.

So what does this mean for you? While it is impossible to keep all personal information off of your cell phone (that is the point of these devices, after all), it is important to keep this court ruling in mind as you use your phone. If anything even potentially incriminating exists on your phone, it is best to delete it. Exercising an abundance of caution is always better than not being cautious enough and paying the consequences.

If you are currently facing criminal charges and were charged based on information found in your cell phone, you need an aggressive criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights. The Law Office of Peacock & Le Beau has been representing Long Beach residents for over 40 years collectively and would be honored to fight for the outcome you need.

Get in touch with us today to schedule your free consultation!

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