Criminal Defense

Don’t Allow the Police to Access Your Smartphone

March 15, 2018 by Mikel Rastegar in Criminal Defense  Rights  
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Privacy in Today’s Climate

Don’t Allow the Police to Access Your Smartphone, it’s 2021, and your smartphone is your life. Most of us cannot part with our phones for more than a moment from the time we wake up in the morning until our heads hit the pillow again at night, and for good reason. Within the confines of your pocket, you have access to all the data the world has to offer, all the contact information of your closest friends and peers, and every bit of personal information.

If someone were trying to learn as much about you as possible in the quickest way possible, would you let them take possession of your phone?

What Your Phone Contains

Your phone may contain evidence that can be used against you in court. As you will read later on, District Attorneys become very dangerous when armed with all the information your phone may reveal about you. For example, just by gaining access to your smartphone, attorneys and officers will be able to see:

  • All of your text messages, including any that you may consider private or that may ultimately incriminate you on the current charges;
  • Any voicemails or recorded phone calls, which can be downloaded and played in court as evidence;
  • Your call history and contact list, which may be used to disprove any alibi or story you have told the police;
  • Any emails or attachments, whether sent or received or forwarded by you;
  • All your online accounts, be it Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and videos and photos, which all have timestamps and may be very private;
  • All your downloads from the internet, such as documents and pages;
  • Your entire contact list;
  • All your apps, information, banking information, and business-related documents; and
  • Your browser history, which would reveal all the websites you have visited in the past from that device.

Option to Hand Over

The police have protocol to follow before they can take anything from you or search anything on you. When you get pulled over, arrested, or feel either of these things may happen, you should hand your phone to someone you trust. Do not be in a rush to grab your phone before you head out of the house to turn yourself in either. It is best to leave your phone at home.

If an officer asks for your consent to search your phone, simply tell them you would rather speak with a lawyer. If an officer has a warrant to search your apartment, this may not give them the right to search your phone, which may be present in the apartment.

It is imperative that you cooperate with the officers. Always remain respectful and be willing to let them perform the functions of their job. However, if given the choice, do not allow your phone to be taken into custody.

If an officer asks to search your phone, simply tell them you would rather speak with a lawyer.

Why You Don’t Hand Over Your Smartphone

District attorneys and officers have a major role in your case, and often seek harsh punishments for any crime so they can use lesser punishments as bargaining chips. If they have access to your phone, they will have the ability to see all the things listed above. You may think you have nothing to hide, or that there is nothing incriminating on your phone, but skilled attorneys and officers will be able to make inferences based on the things in your phone. What appears innocent to you, may ultimately harm your chance for freedom in court.

For example, you may have called your parents one evening to discuss dinner plans, and all that shows on your call log is that the call was made. However, if you are being accused of a crime and it is alleged that you called your parents for a ride from the scene of the crime to help you escape, the fact that you made a call to them in the evening may be used against you.

What To Do Instead

As part of your inalienable rights when being arrested for a crime, police officers are required to read you your Miranda rights. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right not to incriminate yourself, and your right to an attorney. Most people don’t think of their right to an attorney when they hear the Miranda warnings, but it is vital that you always seek the advice of counsel when confronted by police officers.

As mentioned, trained law enforcement agents know exactly what they are looking for when they interview you. They know the things that need to be said to qualify as a confession, the things you need to do to indicate your guilt, and the subtle clues you may give off that aid in their investigations. However, you need not ever speak. If you simply say, “I would like to speak with my attorney,” the police officers are bound by law to stop any type of interrogation. The same will hold true when the police ask for your consent to a search. You are never forced to consent.

We’re Here to Help

Are you under police investigation or have had your property seized in the greater Los Angeles area? We cannot stress enough the importance of consulting and retaining a lawyer to protect your rights, privacy and future.

Need a Criminal Defense Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529

Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Criminal Defense Attorney who has over 20 years of practice defending a variety of criminal cases.

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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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