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Can Police Read Texts Without a Warrant?

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Can Police Read Your Texts Without a Warrant?

How cell phones and other devices can impact your case

Over the past five years, the use of cell phones has skyrocketed. We have found that phones have gone from the old brick phones of the 80s to now the smartphones, the iPhones, the Androids, phones that have e-mails, text messages, videos. In fact, most young people cannot live without their cell phones. How does the use of cell phones change the way we interpret the US Constitution and specifically the 4th Amendment which grants us and prevents unwarranted and unlawful searches and seizures?

In California, the California Supreme Court ruled on that very issue. Here’s what happened, Gregory Diaz was arrested in the San Francisco area of California for the possession of ecstasy. When he was arrested, his cell phone was confiscated by law enforcement. While he was back at the detention facility, law enforcement took his cell phone and went into his text folders and read what he had texted. They then used those texts in their ability to gather information to charge him with a felony offense.

What does this mean to you? 

If you carry a telephone, a handheld device, a smartphone, something that contains your personal information or data, that information can be observed by law enforcement without a warrant. They can search your phone for text messages, perhaps even e-mails that you contain on a smart phone up to 90 minutes after your arrest without a warrant. This will have a new effect on the way that law enforcement do business.

If you get arrested for a crime, you will see law enforcement going through your cell phone, reading your texts, your private statements to your loved ones. Any statements that you make in your texts could possibly be used against you in a criminal prosecution.

If you or someone you love has been arrested, contact our criminal attorneys today for help at 877-728-9653. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 


The criminal defense attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. are fighting for our clients rights in criminal defense cases in ClearwaterTampaBradentonSpring Hill, Pinellas, Pasco, New Port Richey, Manatee, Hillsborough and Hernando Counties in Florida.

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J. Kevin Hayslett

Kevin Hayslett, Esq. Leading Tampa Bay Criminal Attorney

J. Kevin Hayslett is an attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Follow Kevin on Google+, or on Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law".