Supreme Court Upholds Warrants for Cellphone Searches

Searching a mobile phone requires a warrant. Photo via flickr
Searching a mobile phone requires a warrant. Photo via flickr

In conclusion of a two-month review, the Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that warrants will be required by law enforcement to review and search the contents of cell phones seized from arrestees. A typical cellphone’s ability to store a wealth of personal information likens it to a personal computer, placing it in a different category than items such as wallets and protecting it from initial search upon arrest.

PoliceOne Chief Editor Doug Wyllie details the implications for law enforcement investigations in his article on the Supreme Court decision. While obtaining a warrant to search a phone might delay the process, he notes, law enforcement officials will not be inordinately hindered in their investigative efforts. Especially in exigent circumstances where evidence, lives or officer safety are at risk, warrants can be obtained in a timely manner and will help evidence stand in court.

To read more about the cases that prompted the Supreme Court ruling, view our previous post on Warrants for Cellphone Searches.