Cell Phone Searches In Pennsylvania.

June 29, 2017By Brian Manchester

Cell phones are a big part of our everyday lives. We text, email, shop, search the internet, Facebook and yes we even still make phone calls. Even more importantly cell phones store private information on them including banking data and more.

But how private is the information contained on your phone? What about the information stored in services like Apple Cloud, or information stored by your providers, including your search history and the location history of your phone?

Police Are Searching Phones More Than Ever

When arrested in Pennsylvania for a crime more and more the police are searching cell phones. Oftentimes, police officers investigating a crime in Pennsylvania are not getting a warrant to search your cell phones. When prosecuting a crime in, the government often tries to use the data on cell phones against a criminal defendant.

Many of the crimes people are charged with in Pennsylvania such as Possession With the Intent to Deliver drugs, Small Amount of Marijuana, Drug Possession, Conspiracy, Illegal Use of a Communication Facility, Fraud, even Murder, involve cell phone evidence.

Can the Police Search my Phone?

Police cannot just open up your phone and start downloading information off of the phone. Police investigating a crime in Pennsylvania often do this but they legally can’t.

The first thing they have to do when investigating a crime in Pennsylvania is to secure a search warrant.

What if the Police Have a Search Warrant for  Phone?

Even if they are able to take information off of your phone, it does not automatically come into evidence against you. The police must be able to identify the individual who actually used the phone. Just because you may have purchased the phone does not mean that you were the individual that was using the phone whenever some type of illegal activity was taking place with the phone.

The District Attorney’s office and the police must be able to properly authenticate the user of the phone when the messages were being sent or received. If they fail to do this then the messages, logs, emails all become inadmissible hearsay. If the search was done without a warrant the evidence becomes inadmissible in Pennsylvania state and federal courts.

What If the Police Took My Phone for Evidence?

If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania and content from their phone is being used against them as evidence, it is important to hire an experienced Defense Attorney who is intimately familiar with phone seizures and excluding that information from evidence.

Contact Manchester & Associates for a Free Strategy Session at (888) 994-7616. The majority of our firm’s practice is in criminal defense and with a combined 50 years of experience, there is almost no situation we haven’t encountered.

Posted in: Search and Seizure

Tags: Cell Phone, Cell Phone Searches, Criminal Defense, Search and Seizure,

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About the Author

Brian Manchester is the owner of Manchester and Associates in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. His law firm practices DUI and Criminal Defense exclusively throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania in both state and federal court. He has a team of two other lawyers with a combined 50 years of trial and courtroom experience are also trained in science and many other skills that are relevant to criminal defense to include the psychology of persuasion as well. One of his associates is a former District Attorney (chief prosecutor) in central Pennsylvania.   Mr. Manchester and his team routinely handle serious felony cases including murder, manslaughter, sex crimes, complex financial crimes, and serious assaults. A large part of Mr. Manchester’s practice is the defense of alcohol and drug-based DUI offenses as well as drug cases using science and analytical chemistry. Mr. Manchester has training as a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Instructor. He is one of a handful of Certified Lawyer-Scientists as recognized by the American Chemical Society in the United States. He is a member of NCDD and is a Founding Member of DUIDLA. He is also a member of the American Chemical Society with over 170,000 members across the world. To date, he is the only practicing criminal defense lawyer to belong to the Society of Forensic Toxicologist where he is an Associate Member. Mr. Manchester speaks nationally on the topic of blood and drug testing for alcohol as well as the metrological (measurement uncertainty) in forensic testing.

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