Supreme Court to hear cases concerning warrantless cellphone searches

There have been many cases concerning the protections offered by the Fourth Amendment against illegal searches and seizures by police. Frequently, law enforcement officers investigating allegations of criminal activity use investigatory tactics that potentially violate an individual's constitutional rights. In some situations, these become major issues in United States Supreme Court cases.

Currently there are two cases before the court that could have a huge impact upon individuals charged with drug offenses and other significant crimes. In the first case, a man was suspected of being involved in a drive-by shooting. Police located the vehicle that he was currently driving, and noticed it had expired license plates. They eventually decided to pull the man over, and it was discovered that he had a suspended driver's license. A search of the vehicle uncovered firearms, and the man was arrested on weapons charges, as well as driving without a valid license.

The police confiscated the man's smartphone and reviewed some of the information contained on the device. They discovered videos and other signs that led them to believe he was involved in a gang. The man had contended that the phone should not have been searched without a warrant, but lower courts had ruled that since the phone was found on him when he was arrested, law enforcement was allowed to examine the device.

In a second case, a man was observed completing a drug transaction. The law enforcement officer made a traffic stop, and large quantities of drugs were discovered. The officers made an arrest, and took the man's cellphone at the jail. The officers located the man's addressing using the phone, and then searched his home. The lower courts in this case held that the search of the phone was limited and reasonable.

With all of the advancements in technology, there is a lot of information available to police if they search a person's smartphone. If the court permits these types of searches to occur, it could lead to many more individuals being charged with crimes.

If you have been arrested for a drug crime or other serious criminal offense, you need to take immediate action to begin building the strongest defense possible. You should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area to help you with any questions that you may have about your specific situation.

The facts of each arrest will be different. It will be necessary for your attorney to review your case to determine the next best steps for you. Once you have considered all of your options, you will be able to have a better understanding of the choices that you will have to make, as well as the consequences that may result if convicted.