We frequently place a lot of sensitive information into our cell phones,
including possibly incriminating information if the police can find and
use it against you. So if you are pulled over by the police on suspicion
of a traffic violation or other crime, it would make sense for the police
to want to try to obtain this information from you.
Thankfully for the average person, the Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that
law enforcement agencies must treat cell phones as they would treat information
inside someone’s house: it is considered protected and may only
be obtained by a warrant issued by a judge or by permission from the owner.
If you do not give law enforcement permission and they do not have a warrant,
then your right to the privacy of the information in your cell phone is
protected from what is deemed an “unlawful search and seizure.”
Any information obtained this way is inadmissible in court and cannot
be used against you.
What to Do In a Traffic Stop
If you have been pulled over, remain calm and remember to always be polite
to the officer. Being respectful will always make your stop go over smoother
than it would if you are rude or uncooperative for no reason. Police are
allowed to request your drivers’ license and registration, so hand
that to them at their request but otherwise keep your hands visible, preferably
on the steering wheel.
If the police ask to see your cell phone, you are legally allowed to refuse.
For the officer, this means they must either drop the matter or obtain
a warrant from the court, which is not usually possible to obtain while
on the spot.
Why You Should Protect Your Privacy
If you believe incriminating evidence exists on your cell phone, it is
crucial that you exercise your rights to protect your privacy. Any evidence
that you willingly surrender to the police could be used against you in
court and potentially harm your ability to fight back against your charges.
And as always, if you are suspected of a crime, it’s important that
you retain a Walnut Creek criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
The Cardoza Law Offices, Inc., we understand how important it is to have high-quality representation
throughout your case. No matter the nature of the charges you face, our
team is ready and willing to stand by your side and fight back on your
behalf. We are proud of our reputation amongst our peers, including obtaining
a perfect 10.0 Superb rating from Avvo, and selection to Super Lawyers®.
Let The Cardoza Law Offices, Inc. help you with your criminal charges! Get a
free consultation by calling 925.274.2900.