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All Press Releases for January 28, 2014 »
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Cellphone searches at issue in current Supreme Court case

Court to consider the power of police to search cellphones or smartphones found on a person arrested without a warrant.
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    January 28, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Because the technology has become much more affordable over the past decade, nearly every person has some type of cellphone. Some people may have a phone on them simply to make calls in an emergency, while others may have the latest and greatest smartphone. No matter what phone they may have, individuals rely upon these devices to provide them with the information that they need, whenever they may need it.

These devices have also become quite useful to law enforcement officers as well. The information contained in the phones, such as photos, text messages or other types of tracking data may provide them with the information that they need to make an arrest. Recently, the United States Supreme Court has decided to hear cases concerning the ability of law enforcement to access these devices without first obtaining a warrant. The case could have a major impact on the way law enforcement in Michigan handles these types of cases.

The two cases concern individuals whose phones were taken after they were arrested for various offenses. In one case, the motorist's smartphone was examined at the scene of a traffic stop where illegal weapons were found. The phone contained photos which showed that the man may have been involved in a shooting, and the evidence was used to obtain a conviction.

In the other case, a man was arrested for a drug crime. While being questioned, his phone continued to receive incoming messages. Police traced the number for a contact labeled "my house," and learned where the individual lived. They searched his apartment, where drugs and guns were found. The man was convicted of the offenses.

In the past, police had the power to search anything found a person when arrested. However, these rulings were issued long before smartphones were common. Since so much data is contained on these devices, some have argued that police should be required to obtain warrants before they are allowed to examine the phones. The court is hearing these cases in an effort to detail what powers law enforcement may have concerning a suspect's cellphone.

Investigations into drug offenses often involve law enforcement officers who have been specially trained in collecting the evidence necessary to support a conviction. You may be facing increased pressure from police to disclose any information that you have about the crimes, and if you do not know your rights, you could make a very costly mistake.

If you are arrested, do not speak to law enforcement officers until you have discussed your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney will be able to answer any questions that you have, and help you understand the consequences that will result should you be convicted of the offense. Every case is different, and it is important that you are aware of all the potential risks in your specific situation.

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