What happens to your phone when you get arrested?

Although you have the constitutional right to make at least one phone call after being arrested in Florida, it’s unlikely that you will be able to make those calls from your phone.

Florida law provides a few guarantees of privacy for your phone after your arrest, but consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure your rights are protected.

when you get arrested what happens to your phone

Phone confiscation

Your phone may be confiscated upon your arrest, however, in most circumstances, its contents can’t be accessed or searched without a warrant.

However, officers can take the necessary steps to protect the data on your phone.

For example, they can place the phone in a Faraday Bag or another protective bag that blocks radio waves to prevent remote access and deletion of any contents until they have the warrant to search your phone.

Phone access and search

Your mobile phone data, location tracking, texts, photos, voicemails, and app usage could be critical in proving or disproving an alleged crime.

Although searching the contents of your phone is something that the police want to do to prove your involvement in a crime, they can’t do so without probable cause and a warrant, and they can’t force you to unlock your phone to permit them access before they’ve obtained a warrant.

What the law says

In 2014, The Supreme Court ruled that because a smartphone contains significant amounts of personal data and other information that could be used against you, it’s protected from unlawful search and seizure per the Fourth Amendment and your right of protection against self-incrimination, protected by the Fifth Amendment.

Unlocking your phone and granting access is protected under the Fifth Amendment which protects you against self-incrimination—this is an argument your criminal defense lawyer may make.

Only in rare circumstances can the officer search the contents of your phone without a warrant. Some of the most prevalent circumstances under which this can happen are if it’s to protect others such as locating a missing child or preventing something drastic like a bomb threat.

When will I get my phone back?

This depends on your circumstances. If your phone is only held for safekeeping while you’re in police custody, then it will be returned to you with your other belongings when you’re released.

However, if a warrant is issued to search your phone for evidence and the prosecutor feels that they need the phone for evidence during the case, it will take much longer for you to get your phone.

If you’ve been informed that a warrant was issued for your phone or the contents on your phone, it’s important to contact a criminal defense lawyer right away.

Your lawyer can determine if the search or seizure of your phone was lawful.

Do you need a criminal defense lawyer?

If you’ve been arrested in Florida, you have the guaranteed right to representation, but make sure you don’t wait until it’s too late.

Don’t take your chances; work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Orlando at Katz & Phillips, P.A. Call (321) 332-6864 to protect your rights and your freedom.


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Contact the Law Offices of Katz & Phillips today to speak with one of our attorneys about your case today by filling out the form below, or call us at 321-332-6864.


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