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Can the police search your phone after an arrest?

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When you are arrested, the police may want to search your phone to gather evidence. Do officers have the right to do this? 

Here is what to know about this matter:

The police need a warrant to search your phone

A police officer may not search your phone or any other wireless telecommunications device without a warrant after a lawful arrest. This warrant can only be issued by a judge in the same judicial district as the site of the law enforcement agency that employs the officer or the likely location of your phone.

Some exceptions 

After an arrest, a police officer can search your phone without a warrant if you consent to the search or the phone is reported stolen by you.

A police officer can also search a phone without a warrant if they reasonably believe a fugitive from justice for whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing a felony offense has it. Or when an immediate life-threatening situation exists.

What information will the police look for?

If the police secure a warrant to search your phone or the circumstances surrounding your case permit them to do so without a warrant, they will want to gather any information they can use as evidence. These include call logs, text messages, emails, voicemails, location data and so on.

Since people use their phones regularly, sharing enormous amounts of data, consciously and unconsciously, a phone search can provide the police with adequate information in the investigation of any criminal activity.

If the police want to search your phone after an arrest, consider legal guidance to learn more about your options and rights and, in turn, make informed decisions.