• Can the police take your phone & read text messages?

    Date: 01.23.08 | by Judge Tom.

    The Law Regarding Cell Phone Search and Seizure

    (Please see our recent post from 7/25/14 Can the police search your phone without a warrant?)

    Although cell phone searches are a new and developing area of the law, generally, the police cannot take your cell phone and, without consent, read through your texts unless they have at least reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. This is because you have a right to privacy, which includes a right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, this is a new area of the law that courts are addressing for the first time.

    Your state may require the police to have a search warrant or probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed before searching your cell phone and reading your text messages. In all states, if the officer has obtained a search warrant from a court, then your text messages can be read. There are also situations where a “warrantless” search may be done – when it’s a matter of life or death, the officer’s safety is at risk and there’s no time to obtain a search warrant.

    In January, 2011, the California Supreme Court ruled that the police can search a cell phone without a warrant when taken from a suspect at the time of arrest. A warrantless search “incident to a lawful custodial arrest” is constitutional. Click here for the court’s opinion in People v. Diaz (2011).

    Photo by Zawezome (Flickr)

    Many teens and young people feel as though what they do on their cell phone remains private and is personal to them and the person they are communicating with. It’s important to always keep in mind especially with today’s smart phones that nothing texted, uploaded, etc. is “private.” All it takes is for one person to share that message or photo with another before it goes viral. Also, there are numerous ways to recover deleted cell phone messages and photos, so thinking that the delete button will forever erase a regrettable photo or message is clearly wrong.

    Consider the case involving Bernard McCray*, which occurred in Georgia in 2008. The police responded to a complaint of sexual activity in a pickup truck near an apartment complex. When the officer arrived, he asked McCray (the driver) for consent to search the truck, which McCray provided. During the search, the officer discovered drugs in the ashtray. He arrested McCray and then searched his cell phone. The officer found images of a minor who sexted McCray, so in addition to the drug charges, he faced possession of child pornography charges. The Georgia court found the cell phone search to be legal and justified.

    Remember that since courts are confronting this cell phone privacy issue for the first time, the laws and court decisions vary from state to state.

    Cell Phone Rights

    Did you know the federal government provides free cell phones and up to 250 minutes per month to low-income individuals and those already on public assistance such as food stamps? This program has drawn both praise and criticism as the debate continues whether cell phone ownership is a “right” or a “privilege.” What do you think? For more information about this program, click here.

    Find out about students’ cell phone privacy rights at school.

    *U.S. v. McCray, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106 (S.D. Ga. 2009) (unpublished decision).

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    316 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Jess
      Sun, 13 Sep 2009 at 12:02

      If my phone was stolen, and the police recover it for me, can they then read through my text messages sent and received before the date the phone was stolen?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      That’s a great question – one that is being debated around the country. Generally, your private property can’t be searched without a search warrant or reasonable cause to believe a crime has been or is being committed. You have to look to the specific search and seizure laws and court decisions in your state.

    • Tom
      Wed, 14 Oct 2009 at 09:52

      My girlfriend was arrested with a cell phone that is in my name.She told them but they read it anyway and arrested me for conspiracy. Can they used these text against me in court?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      It depends on the laws that exist in your state. A lot depends on the circumstances surrounding the search. You might be able to challenge the search and what it revealed. Check with a lawyer familiar with your criminal laws and code.

    • Jason
      Mon, 19 Oct 2009 at 06:34

      I was arrested for possesion of stolen property(Which I had reseats for) while in the back seat of the police car the 8 cops past my phone and camera around looking a nude pics of my wife when i commented to one of the officers that was our personal property and I did not want them looking at the pic he laughed and said we will look at what ever we want when I got out of jail I check my verizon online account and there were text picture/slide show sent to personal phones while I was arrested when I filed a report the officer told me I shouldn’t have had them on my phone I know this is not right but is it illegal
      Judge Tom’s response:
      With what you describe, we think it best that you talk with a lawyer in your area. He or she can tell you what the search and seizure laws are in your state and whether the police exceeded their authority in viewing the content on your phone. This is a new and developing area of the law. You may be able to get a free 30-60 minute consultation with a criminal lawyer. Good luck.

    • Chris
      Mon, 26 Oct 2009 at 12:33

      my little brother was suspended from school because he was txting someone. my mother called me to tell me to go pick him up from school. so i get there and we (me and my little brother) get this lecture about how he shouldnt of been txting. she said “the teacher told him to turn off his phone and give it to her.” so the phone was turned off lets just get that straight. my mom went back there about a hour after i took my little brother home because the the principle wouldnt give me the phone. the principle told my mother that she read the txt messages. did the principle break the law?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      It depends on whether there’s a privacy law in your state. This is a new area of the law, and courts are wrestling with these issues regarding texting, IMing, etc. Some states have ruled that if there’s reasonable suspicion that a crime is or has been committed, school officials may search cell phones for criminal activity.

    • Bill
      Sun, 01 Nov 2009 at 02:02

      My phone was lost and found at a crime scene and now the police has my phone. When can I get it back?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Your phone may have become an investigative piece of evidence in which case the police can hold it until the case is closed. Check with them to see if and when they’ll release it. Good luck.

    • paul
      Wed, 04 Nov 2009 at 10:53

      hey my friends got there phones takein away because the had a vidio of a fight. they didint have a search warrent is that legal in minnesota?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Dear Paul: Askthejudge.info doesn’t provide specific legal advice or comments on pending cases. We are an educational site for teens as you can see by looking at the site. We can tell you that generally if the police have probable cause to believe a crime has been commited or you have evidence of such, they may confiscate, in this case, the phone as part of an investigation. Whether they should have obtained a warrant first depends on the circumstances as applied under the laws in your state. Regards, ATJ.

    • Andrew
      Thu, 12 Nov 2009 at 10:32

      I got my locker searched and they found a pipe and cigs wen the cop was talking to me he asked for my fone I gave it to him and then he started to go thru it I askedhim if he could do that he said yep then I said don’t u need a search warrnt he said nope and he has lied to me b4 with other stuff so I wanna check and bring it up in court
      Judge Tom’s response:
      It depends on the laws in your state and school district policy. This is a new area in search and seizure law across the country. Schools and legislatures are developing rules about these searches. Since you’re going to court already, ask your lawyer about this. He or she should know what laws apply in this case. Good luck.

    • Ashley
      Fri, 20 Nov 2009 at 10:50

      I was arrested on sales and possesion charges and some of the evidance being used against me are he text messages from my cell phone. but, my cell phone was off and not on my person at the time of my arrest. but i thought they needed a search warrent for something like this.
      Dear Ashley: It depends on the circumstances of the situation. A search warrant is not always required – there are exceptions to needing a warrant in order to search and seize evidence. Discuss this with your lawyer. Good luck

    • sarah
      Tue, 24 Nov 2009 at 12:08

      My husbends friend that is a pharmistes at a drug store was caught having peaple coming in to get iellegel pills without a doctors consent. At one point my husbend was one of the people. Well, last Thursday my husbend went to his friends drug store to pick up some cream for our son that was orderd for him and when he came out he was apprach by two cops. They ask him what he had in his bag and he told them just cream for my son. They took it and instede of cream it was a bottle of Vicadends. His friend set him up. My husbend was not arreasted he just had to go down to the police stachen to talk to the detictive.My husbend is on probashion for something that happiend awhile ago and if he does anything wroung hes gone for six years.Husbend and his friend would text all the time about when to come and get the pills and stuff about them, it started months ago. How far back can the cops look on his cell phone recoerds? My husbend didn’t want anything to do with this stuff thats why he told his buddy know more, he quit about two months ago. Im really affraid that something is going to happen and im gunna loose everything. Thanks.
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Your question is beyond the scope of this website which provides information about teen law. Your husband should talk to an attorney about these matters and whether there may be any sort of search or seizure issue. If you do not have a privately retained attorney, your husband could be appointed a public defender either for the new charges and/or the probation violation matter. Good luck.

    • jason
      Wed, 16 Dec 2009 at 02:50

      my probation officer too my cell phone away can he do that
      Dear Jason: It depends on the circumstances and the terms of your probation. If he or she had a reason to believe you were breaking the law or your probation terms, a search of your phone may be justified and legal. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • jake
      Thu, 24 Dec 2009 at 03:13

      the police took my phone cuz i had stolen goods and they said there going to look throw it i have texts on there about cannibs and videos will that come up in court
      Dear Jake: What the police find on your cell phone may or may not be used in court. It depends on the search and seizure laws in your state and the circumstances surrounding the taking of your phone. Based on your email address, we assume you live in England, so the laws in your jurisdiction would apply here. Discuss this with your lawyer before going to court. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Chris Coleman
      Wed, 06 Jan 2010 at 07:38

      If the police questioned me at school before they read me my rights is all the information I gave them before they read me my rights admissabe. And on New Years they came to my house for 2 FALSE allogations, their was a social worker with them and she was the one who questioned me with 2 cops by her side, they read me no rights and made me lift up my matress without a warrant, can i possibly dissmiss all that I told the social worker?
      Dear Chris: Askthejudge.info is an educational website about the laws for teens. We don’t provide legal advice or interpretation to adults or teenagers. Since your question concerns legal interpretation of English law applied to the facts of your case we are unable to respond. Under U.S. law, a person must be read their rights only when in custody. Also under America’s Miranda-rights procedure, only law enforcement is required to “Mirandize” a suspect. Miranda does not apply to teachers, principals, social workers, etc.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Tray
      Mon, 11 Jan 2010 at 04:53

      Can a boss look up past personal text messages from a cell phone he pays for? He told us 5 years ago to use them as work and personal then decides to take them and see if he can look the texting up with the phone company for evidence of wrong doing and personal in store relationships?
      Dear Tray: This is a developing area of the law. You’ll have to check your company’s policies, what, if anything, you signed when you started and the laws in your state. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in December, 2009, that the police need a warrant to search someone’s cell phone unless the officer was in danger. Courts are starting to address these issues. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • donnie
      Tue, 19 Jan 2010 at 10:20

      Can you turn in a police officer for breaking the law?
      See, i live in a small town, where the cops get away with everything it’s rediculous. For example, there was a cop sitting in a parking lot,(without any lights on.) As far as i know a cop needs to have at least their parking lights on. could i get him on film and turn him in? what would happen?
      Dear Donnie: No one is above the law, from the President on down. If you witness a crime being committed, it should be reported. As far as telling you what to do in this instance, Askthejudge does not provide legal advice to anyone, adult or teenager, only information about the law.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • SARAH
      Tue, 19 Jan 2010 at 02:30

      My friend was raped about 7 months ago by someone she use to send joking texts to they are going to court in about a week can the messages she use to send be retrived? and or used against her to say that the rape was not a rape at all?
      Dear Sarah: It is possible to retrieve text messages. In this case, the person charged with the rape may have the messages saved, and can turn them over to his lawyer to be used in his defense. The issues regarding admissibility of the messages in court are up to the judge to decide and the lawyers to argue for and against. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Amanda
      Thu, 21 Jan 2010 at 11:00

      I was at a stop light the other day and texted a friend back, while the light was still red. When the light turned green, I turned and suposibly “swerved.” I was then pulled over by a police officer who asked if I’d been drinking, I hadn’t. Then asked to see my cell phone, which was next to me. The officer went through my text messages and saw that I had sent a text three minutes before I was pulled over. She wrote me a ticket for texting while driving. Did she have the right to take my phone. The cause of the swerve was obvisouly not from texting because the text was from three min. before.
      Dear Amanda: Since you received a ticket, you’ll have a chance to explain what happened in court. Depending on the penalty for texting while driving in your state, you may be assigned a public defender. He or she will go over the facts and the laws that apply regarding searches. This is a developing area of the law – one state [Ohio] recently ruled that the police need a warrant to search a cell phone unless officer safety is an issue. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • isaac
      Thu, 21 Jan 2010 at 01:30

      i was texting in lesson sdo my phone was confiscated during leson. fair enough. but the teacher said pick it up at the end of the day. at the end of the day he said he wants to keep it- i asked if i could take my sim card or battery out so there was no way he could access he he said no. now i left it in state so if any one accessed it i would know. i need to know- what can i say if he did?
      Dear Isaac: This is a new and developing area of the law. One of the first court decisions in the country on searching student cell phones came out in December, 2009. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the police need a warrant before searching a cell phone, unless officer safety was an issue. In your situation, check the school’s code of conduct [should be in your student handbook] and see what policy exists regarding cell phones. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • anthony
      Sun, 24 Jan 2010 at 04:40

      my girlfriend got caught with cocaine which she ask me to buy the cops told her they will trace her phone and read all her text messages this is in new york can the cops do this?
      Dear Anthony: Under New York law they may be able to search the cell phone. They may need a search warrant to do so but once obtained from a court, they’ll be able to read the messages for evidence of criminal activities. Each state has its own laws about searches. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jason
      Wed, 27 Jan 2010 at 05:39

      Hi, I live in scotland and I gt pulled over by the police who had just passed me minutes before, he said he pulled me because I didn’t look like I was comfartble with my car? Hmm… Lies! He then searched me and my car with two other policemen and then took my phone and started reading all my texts to see if I had been buying drugs? Is this legal or where they invading my privacy?
      Dear Jason: You have to look to the laws of Scotland to see if what the police did was legal. We don’t provide legal advice or opinions on the acts of others – that is what the courts and judicial system is for. Try Googling “Scotland cell phone searches” for further information. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jason J
      Wed, 27 Jan 2010 at 09:59

      I don’t do this but I was just wondering about sexting? people say they send pictues of themself naked?!?! that’s crazy! Are there people that sit and read texts trying to find stuff like that
      Dear Jason: The world is made up of all kinds of people. Thanks for writing.

    • waka
      Sat, 30 Jan 2010 at 06:08

      Hello We ,me and my fiance were at a store trying new clothes on at the store. We always shop for clothes there and when we left the dressing rooms we left the clothes there and then we go to leave store and go to another for some coffee a cop comes up to our car and blows siren and says we stole and I told her say yea we did just to have them not find the weed wich they never found and we had christmas gifts in there still its only january now so whats the big deal to have clothes and other items still in the car so anyway they said I took jeans and never and then they she changed and we said yes. She changed in parking lot and those were stolen to and we said ok your rite out of spite and to keep them from finding weed.They were old but anyway they arrested us and towed the car. At the station the cop brought in my old coat he tore open for nothing and a internet phone and some clothes I had in the car.Well out of the all the clothes there the store said only two pairs were there brand but not the ones that were missing and her pair wasnt theres but the charged me with two pairs wich were mine along with other clothes wich the cop gave me back now there all new and store sales that brand hmmmm then took her jeans wich never came from there store at all and charged her with that I thought the law was here to protect you. Then he went through her purse looking for anything he could find then found flash drive cards I told him they have nothing to do with him and there were he didnt want to see what was on there none of his buisness then he said nude pics I said yes then he pluged it in and saved pics looked through all of them with the guys from the store there and other cops were looking and grinning isnt that against the law to do that?
      I need some advice they never found weed witch would have been worse but I let them beleive we stole to get out of them finding it when we never and no pics or real evidence to show either way!
      Dear Waku: If you have been charged with a crime, you’ll have a chance when you go to court to explain exactly what happened to your lawyer and/or the court. Your lawyer will look into the facts and police actions to see that they followed the law in searching you and your phone. If mistakes were made, he or she will protect your rights and attempt to have illegally obtained evidence excluded from the case. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • samuel perez
      Sun, 31 Jan 2010 at 09:16

      I live in bryan texas my brother was arrested for avaiding arrest for just being at a school after school hours. The cops got him and started to search the vehicle for weapons with is stupid they just wanted to find reasons for just tresspassing. So they took my brothers phone which is mine under my name and the are keeping it and wont give it back. Can i get the phone back and possible sue the cops.Also my brother told me that they were reading his text and i went to this website and saw that the needed a warrant to look at the phone and keeping it
      Dear Samuel: Whether the police can search a cell phone (look at text messages, etc.) without a warrant is a new and developing area of the law. The first state supreme court to rule on this issue came out of Ohio and said that the police cannot search a phone without a warrant unless there are concerns for the officer’s safety. However, the laws vary in every state. The police can hold onto any “evidence” until the case is over. If the cell phone is being considered evidence, then you may have to wait until your brother’s case is resolved. If you brother has an attorney, talk to him/her about wanting to get your phone back. You can also try calling either the police department or the prosecutor’s office and ask if they would return the phone to you. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • waka
      Sun, 31 Jan 2010 at 04:45

      how can they arest you on friday then have court on monday when I cant get a public defender?
      Dear Waka: Every state and county has its own rules and laws concerning first appearances in court (after an arrest has been made) and the appointment of counsel. Depending on the offense committed and whether the person charged is “indigent” (can’t afford to hire an attorney), the court will decide if a public defender will be appointed. This typically occurs during the first court appearance and not at the time of arrest. Even though a person is entitled to have their lawyer present during any questioning after an arrest has been made, if they don’t already have an attorney, they usually have to wait until their first court appearance.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • john
      Wed, 03 Feb 2010 at 06:56

      My friend was texting a drug dealer and the dealer got arrested and the cops confiscated their phone..can my friend get in trouble for what the texts say..we live in nj
      Dear John: It depends on what your friend said and even more important, what he did. If there’s evidence that he committed a crime, he may be charged. The text messages may be used as evidence against him depending on local laws and rules of evidence. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Josh M
      Tue, 09 Feb 2010 at 09:18

      Recently, a search warrant was obtained, and my friends house raided on suspicion of hard drug harboring, however, upon searching they did not find anything and swat was misinformed, only finding a small marijuana grow operation within script limits. However, during the search warrant ( which did not say cell phones ) . the defendants phone was taken, in the phone, incriminating text messages are sent from other numbers to the phone seized, is that information from the other numbers obtainable and probable cause to issue a search warrant for the incoming numbers or only for the seized property and its defendant ? Basically, if you friend gets busted and his phone taken, and you have sent him incriminating messages about your activites, can it come back to you legally?
      Dear Josh: The police gather pieces of the puzzle and when the picture is complete or close enough to complete to support a search warrant, they’ll act on it. In the situation you describe, they may continue to gather evidence of criminal activity that may be used in court. A lot depends on the laws and rules of court in your jurisdiction. Regarding cell phones and text messages, this is a new and developing area of the law. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • O F
      Tue, 09 Feb 2010 at 06:40

      My daughter left her cell phone at her place of employement. This is NOT an employee paid cell phone but her personal cell phone. The manager read every one of her messages (which was taped by the security camera). When she went to pick it up the manager didnt say anything but has told other workers she read all her messges. some of the text messages mention buying weed. What should she do?
      Dear O F: We do not provide anyone, adult or teenager, with legal advice. Askthejudge is an information site for teens about laws. Your daughter may want to check with the owner of the company or human resources if it’s a big company regarding cell phone policies. In the future, she should think before she clicks or posts a message. Nothing is private in the digital world, regardless of privacy settings. Messages and photos can always be retrieved and sent on for worldwide viewing. All the best.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • adrian rosales
      Thu, 11 Feb 2010 at 07:39

      Can a police officer that is arresting someone take away my phone for taking pictures of what was happening?
      Dear Adrian: The answer to your question depends on the laws of your state, the policies of the police department and the reason your phone was seized. It’s possible that your phone was seized as “evidence” especially if you captured some act that was the reason for the arrest. You could try contacting the police department and request your phone back and/or how to go about getting it returned. You could also contact a local civil rights or criminal law attorney who would be more familiar with your state law and the policies of the local police department. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Mayer A.
      Mon, 15 Feb 2010 at 05:09

      i hav a question from school. If u get pulled over, is a cop allowed to take your fone and see the text messages in nyc?
      Dear Mayer: Whether the police can take your cell phone and search it depends on the circumstances at the time of the incident. If there’s reasonable cause to believe a crime has been or is being committed, they may take the phone as evidence. Otherwise they may obtain a search warrant to justify seizing and searching the phone. Your local and state laws have to be looked at in this new area of the law. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • taco toastoda
      Sat, 06 Mar 2010 at 01:06

      My friend’s phone was taken up by a police officer and got onto his email from his phone and sent pictures from his email to himself is this legal?
      Dear Taco: The law of search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment is developing as we speak. This new category including electronic devices is under study across the country. You have to look to your local and state laws to see what law enforcement is authorized to do regarding cell phones. Generally, if there is reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or will be committed, a search of a phone may be allowed. If a search warrant is issued, the phone may be searched and evidence seized. Whether this officer complied with the rules governing search and seizure depends on the exact circumstances of the incident. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Megan
      Sun, 07 Mar 2010 at 02:35

      During a search warrent, can the police take everyones phone? The police had a search warrent for my roommates place for possession of cocaine. A “no knock entry”. They took everyones phones. I am just a roommate. I didnt even know what was going on because I was never around. They took my phone also, but its not even in my name. I am just her roommate and my name isnt even on the lease (but the landlord knows about me) Can the police legally take my phone? Also can they stay past the search warrent time? The ending time was 12:30, but they were still at our place at 1:30.
      Dear Megan: What the police may do in executing a search warrant depends on the local laws that apply and the exact language and scope of the warrant. If cell phones in the residence searched are included in the warrant as possible evidence of criminal activity, their seizure may be permissible. You also have to look to your local rules regarding the time and length of executing a warrant. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jessie
      Thu, 11 Mar 2010 at 11:23

      A police car stopped me while i was walking down the road and took my cell phone he read my messages that i had sent to my girlfriend and he was texting my girlfriend asking her her personal information acting like he was me is it legal in georgia
      Dear Jessie: Because text messaging is fairly new in the sense that courts and state legislatures aren’t caught up with the legalities regarding search and seizure, there’s no easy answer to your question. Every state is wrestling with this issue. We suggest you speak with someone who knows Georgia law and policy regarding cell phone use and law enforcement authority to search one with and without a search warrant. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • horace
      Sat, 13 Mar 2010 at 09:40

      Hi my friends got busted for smoking pot in school and the police have their phones and if there are texts from me talking about smoking can i get charged?
      Dear Horace: It’s not a crime to talk about using drugs. However, if your comments lead to evidence of criminal activity [buying, selling, transportation of drugs, for example] they may be used against you. You might want to choose your words wisely and method of communication. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Fara
      Sat, 20 Mar 2010 at 06:25

      So why don’t you invest some of the profits from advertising on this page to make a better site that can tell people about their specific state laws so people don’t have to take the time asking a question only for five separate answers in a row to come back saying, “It depends on your state laws.” Useless since most of the questions pertain to situations involving different state laws. Cool Idea for a website but we all know you can do better. Thank you, bye.
      Dear Fara: You raise a valid point. However, at the moment we are a small, volunteer-run site with no paid advertising. As such, and considering fifty states and the District of Columbia, and the nature of ever-changing laws, it is better to refer the reader to their own local resources for the most current information. Askthejudge.info is a free site and we intend to keep it that way to reach more teens.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Tylor
      Mon, 22 Mar 2010 at 03:12

      Hi, me and two other friends are senior in highschool in PA. we decided to do a senior prank and write on the windows above our cafeteria and put a huge leprechaun in them for st. pattys day. We used a ladder to get on the roof, and went on with the prank. we didnt get caught, but two days after rumors went around that we did it, and even people who werent there doing it got blammed in the rumors. The police had a print out of all our texts messages when they questioned us, and basically knew we did it from reading our txts… my question is, are they allowed to do that without a warrant or parents consent?? I’m only 17 and I feel like there has to be a problem with this somewhere?? thanks
      Dear Tylor: You have a good point. This is a new area of the law that’s being debated across the country. Generally, if the police have what is called reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed, they can conduct a search for evidence, including cell phones. Whether they need a search warrant or not depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident and your local laws. You and your parents may want to discuss this with a lawyer if charges are filed. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Spencer
      Tue, 23 Mar 2010 at 12:56

      Hello, my friend and I were at a store and my friend grabbed a few things and put them in his pocket. As we were walking out my friend got stopped but I kept walking. No one said anything to me or tried to stop me. Shortly after I get a phone call from a police officer and he says I might get charged. As I’m going home I get pulled over and the cop makes me step out of the car. He tries to trick me into saying I stole stuff then he takes my phone without permission and reads my texts. Can he do this? I am getting charged with theft when I had nothing on me. What do I do?
      Dear Spencer: If you are formally charged with theft or shoplifting, you’ll have a chance when you go to court to explain what happened. The court may also appoint you a lawyer or you can hire your own. Tell your lawyer exactly what happened and he or she will look into the phone search to see if it was legal. This is a new and developing area of the law regarding cell phone searches. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • victoria
      Tue, 30 Mar 2010 at 05:05

      hey,im 15 almost 16 and the cops took my phone over a month ago for an investigation about this old guy whos 53 that would give me n my friends cigs, weed, and alcohol for free. i had naked pictures on my phone and when they came too my house they looked through my phone and saw them and kept asking me are these yours and stuff. i send the guy a naked pic when i was drunk for he could stop being all perverted to me in person. he is in jail rite now. the cops called my mom once but we missed the call and we have been calling them multiple times since and they haven’t answered or called back yet.my phone is canceled so if i got it back it wouldn’t have service and my charger for the phone is messed up and only i know how to make it charge so it would be useless at court because it would have no battery life. i was just wondering how i could get my phone back from them, i would even bring it charged to court for the case and not delete the pics i took of myself. please help, its been over a month the cops have had my phone… :(
      Dear Victoria: As long as there is a pending or open case that is being investigated, or charges pending against someone, and the cell phone is evidence in the case, the police may hold on to the property. Only when a case is completed can evidence be released – that could be years in some cases.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Alexander
      Sat, 03 Apr 2010 at 03:30

      Can a police read your text messages after they pulled you over for a traffic ticket for not stopping at a red right in front of a red right? I got pulled over in front of a party that i was going to and the police officer told me that he would tow my car if i didnt let him see my phone to get the flyer from a text message in my phone to shut down tthe party….
      Dear Alexander: This is a new and developing area of the law since text messaging and cell phone use is fairly recent and widespread. Generally, if the police are investigating the commission of a crime and have reason to believe that evidence may exist on the cell phone, they, depending on the circumstances, may take it and search it, with or without a warrant. Your local laws should address this and the laws regarding search and seizure also apply. A criminal lawyer would be able to give you the specifics of the law regarding this. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Danielle
      Sat, 10 Apr 2010 at 09:53

      Hi, I was just wondering, I was pulled over and ticketed for supposedly using my cell phone while driving, when the trooper came to my car he was very rude and made me nervous so at first I told him I did not have a cell phone, he then walked around my car looked in threw the other window and forced me to open my center console, where low and be hold was my cell phone (I would have told him I had one had he not been so agressive when he first approached me) not only did he take my cell phone out of my possesion, he went threw it, where he then saw a phone call that had occured 3 min before he had pulled me over, he then proceeded to yell at me and call me a liar, and wrote me a two tickets, one for the cell phone use and one for drivers view obstruction. My question is… Is he allowed to go through my cell phone?
      Dear Danielle: States are addresing these cell phone search and seizure issues as we speak. Generally, the laws in your state regarding searches, reasonable suspicion and the need for a warrant apply to cell phones. If the police witness a crime or have reasonable suspicion that a crime is in the process or has been committed, they may seize the phone as evidence in the case. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Brittany
      Sat, 10 Apr 2010 at 11:08

      Me and my friends ran from the cops today, we ditched my backpack full of alc and my phone. One of my friends got caught and said my name. The cops found my backpack. How do i retrieve my phone & could they go through my txts? If they did go thru my txts and saw talk about drugs and such could that get me or anybody i talked to into trouble? Also, would they call my ‘home’ number in my contacts? (i’m very scared of my parents) from Twin Cities, Minnesota.
      Dear Brittany: Until you said you were “scared of” your parents, we would have suggested telling them so they could speak with the police and attempt to retrieve your phone. They may find out about this incident anyway, so it’s best to be up front with them now. Depending on the circumstances, the police may be able to check your messages if they’re investigating a crime and/or have a search warrant. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • spawn
      Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 08:27

      I was stopped by two officers for riding onto the sidewalk with my bicycle, but I dismounted the bike to walk into the housing complex. While the officer held my I.D. I attempted to type the Officer’s name and badge number on my phone for my personal information when I go to court for the offense due to me not having a pen/pencil. The officer told me to put my phone away because it was against the law to do so while being pulled over by police. Is this true?
      Dear Spawn: There may be a local law about communicating with others while being questioned by the police. They didn’t know what you were typing so they could have thought you were messaging someone about an illegal activity or sending a warning that the police were involved at that point in time. Bottom line, when told to do something by the police, do so – in most parts of the country, disobeying a legal command by the police is an offense. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • danielle
      Sun, 11 Apr 2010 at 03:41

      i got followed by a car tring to run me and my son off the road and then finally it did i called the cops and showed them text this person had sent me about killing my family and stuff and the cop took my phone as evidence i even requested it back and said that if i didnt get my phone back right there i wasnt pressing charges the cop yelled at me and said my story was a lie and that there was loop holes in the story why would i lie if i am the victim in the case what can i do to get my phone back and what can i do about this officer yelling at me i live in holts summit missouri and this took place in montgomery city missouri
      Dear Danielle: Askthejudge.info is an educational website for teens about the law. We do not provide legal advice to adults or teens. Consequently, we are unable to assist you in this situation. We suggest you speak with a criminal lawyer in your area. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Nick 3
      Wed, 14 Apr 2010 at 09:16

      my friend who lives in CO texted his other friend about weed every so often. Now his friend is getting his phone searched to see if there was child pornography on it. Will my friend get introble for the weed realated text messages?
      Dear Nick: Unless the text messages are evidence of a crime that was commited, mere conversation about marijuana is not illegal. Free speech protects discussions about many things including crimes and misdemeanors, as they say. Any acts that follow that result in a violation of the law are another matter. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • mary
      Thu, 15 Apr 2010 at 09:44

      my grandaughter was served a warrant for not showing up in coury, now she is accusing my other daughter of turning her in.she claims the warrant officer told her who it was(which my daughter did not.)but anyway do warrant officers release that kind of information.
      Dear Mary: It depends on the nature of the case, the laws in your jurisdiction and the policies of the officer’s department. If your granddaughter is a minor, generally information is not disclosed outside of court, but it may not be unlawful to discuss the case with others. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • john
      Fri, 16 Apr 2010 at 10:58

      i got a call earlier tonight fron 911. it was the internet research department for my states police. they said they found “child pornography” on my phone without even having it. can they look at files you save on your phone or can they intercept picture mesages? because im 16 and i had a girlfriend who sent me some pictures a year ago. i only heard a voicemail because i didnt pick up but they said that since it was a year ago they wont convict me, just call me again and discuss the dangers. how would cops retrieve those pictures i dont see how its possible.
      Dear John: We are an information web site about the law and teenagers. We have no technical knowledge regarding accessing computers, phones, etc. So we can’t help you there. We can tell you that under state search and seizure laws, the police may be able to access communications with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances. That may include messages, texts, videos, photos, etc. If they have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that a crime has been or is in the process of being committed, they may conduct a search and collect evidence in the case. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Concerned
      Sat, 17 Apr 2010 at 10:57

      So my friend had some adderall that he was trying to get rid of, so I sent a bunch of text messages out asking if anyone wanted to buy any. I got a text back from a parent informing me that they had notified the police. Is this enough to get a warrant for my texts in Washington State? If so, can they press charges based on here-say and text messages? Can they press charges without physical evidence? If they do press charges, what are the consequences? I’m over 18.
      Dear Concerned: You should be concerned about this situation. Under your state laws, you may be charged with attempted sale of drugs or other violation. Depending on the exact facts, there may be enough evidence to support a search warrant for your text messages. That would be up to the judge to decide. Possible penalties may include probation, jail time, or a diversion program if this is your first offense. You might consider talking to a local criminal defense lawyer. Good luck, and think about your next text before hitting “send.”
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • John
      Tue, 20 Apr 2010 at 07:52

      i recently had my phone stolen, when the cop went to the house where it was located (i have a mobile me tracker) i gave him the serial number, now if he found the phone that was stolen, would it be given back right away or would theyn hold it for evidence and for how long
      Dear John: If the phone is evidence in an ongoing criminal investigation, they can hold it indefinitely. There will come a time when either the case is closed as an unsolved crime, or charges are filed and it comes to a conclusion following trial, appeals, etc. You might check with the police in a month or so and ask about its status. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Rick
      Tue, 20 Apr 2010 at 02:38

      my phone was stolen and I gave the names of who did it the cop once he asked for the serial number after calling me at the house and then he never called back.
      could he have taken it as evidence? and will i get my phone back ever>
      Dear Rick: It is possible that the phone is now evidence in an ongoing criminal investigation. If that’s the case, the police may hold on to it until the case is concluded. You can call every month or so to check on its status. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Eli
      Fri, 23 Apr 2010 at 12:24

      My phone was taken up during PE in school today the coach said it would be in the office after school. It was cool and I understood the rules but right before sixth period ( two periods after PE ) my ex girlfrined came to me and said The next time you get your phone taken up make sure to delete your messages. The school princiable and the counsler had read through my text and my ex girlfriend has sent me text asking me about sexual favors/foreplay and stuff. The princable and counsler called the girl in the office and gave her a lecture and got and gave me a day in school suspension. Can they do this. they where on my phone for a while because my iphone has a battery detector app in it and when i gave them my phone it had 92 percent when i got it back it said 45 percent. I am pissed of and can they read thorugh my text without my or my parents concent i dont know its just messed up
      Dear Eli: You’ll have to check to see if your school has an Acceptable Use Policy regarding electronic devices at school. Many schools have put such policies in place to regulate cell phones, etc. on campus. They may be in their rights in searching the phone if they have reasonable suspicion to believe a school rule or law was broken. There’s a good lesson to be learned here, right? Be very careful about what you send or post. Once you click, it’s out there forever and can’t be taken back. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • meowmix
      Tue, 27 Apr 2010 at 03:58

      My friend was recently arrested for felony possession and the cops took his phone and started texting me and calling me pretending they were my friend (who they had already arrested). They posed as my friend and told me to meet them somewhere, which I stupidly did. Are they allowed to do this? It was a set-up. I live in Texas and was just curious.
      Dear Meowmix: The search and seizure laws of your state apply to this situation. Generally, when a crime has been or is in the process of being committed, law enforcement may gather evidence during its investigation. Cell phones and text messages are ways to investigate contacts and ongoing criminal activity. Cases involving legal and illegal searches are just now making their way through the courts since this is a fairly new area of the law. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • cynthia
      Wed, 28 Apr 2010 at 05:26

      me and my cousin were accused of cyber bullying. truth is we didnt have anything to do with it. what happend was that they were txin her from my friends AIM(which we were using to check our myspace)they threatend he n had put my name in it., when they called us up to the principals office the police officer accused us.he didnt think we were saying the truth. so he said”for threratin her im gonna threaten you 90 days in juvinal hall”. he then took our phone away without our parents there and there permission and was going threw our phones. he then said he was going to read all our messages. is he allowed to do that?
      Dear Cynthia: The police are allowed to search for evidence when they have reason to believe a crime has been or is in the process of being committed. So, the exact details of your situation may justify a search of your phone. If what was written amounts to a threat of some kind, there’s a possibility that the writer may be charged with threatening, harassment or whatever law exists in your state that would fit the facts of this situation, including cyberbullying. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • natalie
      Thu, 29 Apr 2010 at 12:38

      so yesterday after school there was a big fight . the boy got punched in the face droped to the floor. and his face got stomped on once.. he was bleeding.. i was recording. the principle took my cell.. and now the police has my cell.. there going through my phone.. i never gave them permission. yes i took the video they can just copy the video into there computer why do they have to take my phone with them.. is there anything i can say to them ? or do.. to protect my rights..
      Dear Natalie: The police may confiscate evidence during an investigation of a crime. The content in your cell phone may be used in a case if charges are filed. Once the investigation and resulting case is concluded, you will be able to get the phone back. In the meantime, contact the police department every now and then to check on the staus of the case. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • natalie
      Thu, 29 Apr 2010 at 03:08

      But the thing is they did not ask for my consent. they did not show me proof of search warrant. There going through my stuff with out my consent. I did not receive any written document that they took my phone and will take responsible for any damages. The thing is i was not informed till this morning that my phone is with the police.
      Dear Natalie: You could go to the police department and file a claim regarding the phone so that when the case ends it will be returned to you.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • jenny
      Thu, 29 Apr 2010 at 04:20

      i was atschool texting during lunch and the schools deputy took my phone away. he said he was gonna go threw it and read all my messages. me and my boyfriend do have our “moments” on there. i was wondering is that a crime?
      Dear Jenny: Check your school’s Student Handbook to see what the policy is regarding cell phones at school. Most schools across the country have an Acceptable Use Policy which, when violated, gives the administration the authority to take the phone. Generally, if a school rule or law has been or is in the process of being violated, a search of the phone may be permissible. Talk with your parents about this. They can request some clarification from the school about this incident. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • ryan
      Fri, 07 May 2010 at 04:26

      i got caught with possesion can the court or the police look through my phone records?
      Dear Ryan: If the police have reasononable suspicion to believe that your phone was part of the crime, they could search your phone and/or phone records depending on your state laws with or without a warrant. If you’ve been charged with possession and have a lawyer, run this by him or her. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Frank
      Mon, 10 May 2010 at 07:35

      Can a cop go through my phone and take pictures?
      Dear Frank: Under certain circumstances the police may search your cell phone. If, as part of an ongoing investigation into criminal activity, they have reasonable cause to believe that your phone and its contents may be evidence in a case, they can request a search warrant from a court. There may also be reason to search it without a warrant. The specifics facts of each case dictate the legality of a search. Hope this helps. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • lauren kush
      Fri, 14 May 2010 at 08:40

      Im from NJ. If i got a ticket for illegal front window tint, can the town make me come to court with my car to prove its off?
      Dear Lauren: They may require some proof that the tint has been removed. If you weren’t told to produce the car itself, take a picture of it and bring it to court. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • j.t.
      Wed, 19 May 2010 at 08:10

      So, I’m a minor in my state for another 11 days. I had been talking to a 23 year old male just as friends for 2weeks until I found out he had a record of 3 misdemeanors. We had flirted through texts and he had asked me to send things, but I wouldn’t. He sent me 3 pictures that were unwanted..all the while, I knew he was talking to a couple other girls that were also minors. There is now a pending request placed by a girl for a restraining order against him…I know that they can pull his text messages and look ate all that he has sent, but does that mean they can look at mine?
      Dear J.T.: If the police have probable cause that a crime has been committed, they can search his phone with or without a warrant. That would depend on the search and seizure laws in your state. So, yes, they might be able to see your pictures, if you sent any, and your text messages when searching through his cell phone.
      Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jake
      Wed, 19 May 2010 at 11:43

      Can police go through someone’s text messaging records through the cell phone company? Do wireless companies keep text message records? If so, how long are the text message records kept? I know that they wouldn’t be able to without a warrant/reasonable cause, but if they did have a reason to is it even possible to access old messages? What about more recent messages?
      Dear Jake: Your questions about company practices regarding their service and record keeping is best addressed to them. It’s a matter of individual company policy. As you stated, with a search warrant, the police would be able to search as far back as the messages are retained. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • mike
      Tue, 25 May 2010 at 12:59

      A friend of mine got in trouble and the campus police at Washington State seized his phone and got his text message history and now the school is trying to get me in trouble too because in his text messages I’m apparently associated with him. I was wondering if it is legal for the police to release his text messages to the school
      Dear Mike: Whether it’s legal or not depends on what the police know, whether they’re investigating a crime or violation of school rules, and the laws in your state. Under certain circumstances they may be able to release information to the school. Each situation is handled on a case-by-case basis. This whole area of text messages and searches is new. There are several cases being tested in the courts. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jan
      Wed, 26 May 2010 at 06:13

      My husband is being held in jesey isles prison he is being cahrged with conspiracy based upon nothing mobile phone numbers x2 that are not connected to me in any way can they do this please help
      Dear Jan: Askthejudge.info is an educational web site for teenagers about the law. As such, we do not provide legal advice to adults or teens. You need to speak with a local criminal lawyer about your concerns. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • bill
      Tue, 08 Jun 2010 at 12:28

      I was set up and charged with trafficing and possion of controlled substance. The cops took my phone but wont beable to access any thing any ways because it has a lock. Im just wondering if I can get my phone back right after the case is closed even if I get probation, or if I get probation will I have to wait till im off probation?
      Dear Bill: When you’ll get your phone back depends on the police department’s policy and the probation terms you receive. If the phone is needed in an ongoing investigation you won’t be getting it back until it’s no longer needed. If you have a lawyer, ask him or her about this. If you don’t, you can ask your probation officer. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • John Denver
      Tue, 08 Jun 2010 at 10:43

      a couple buddies of mine were just busted the other day for sale/manufacturing weed and took his cell phone, with some texts from me in there possibly about purchasing some, or at least going over to smoke… could i get into any kind of trouble? Just because a text says something, doesn’t mean it ever happen, no way they could prove it either way if i did or not?
      Dear John: The text message alone may not be enough to charge you with a crime. However, it could become part of an ongoing investigation. It could be one piece in the evidence puzzle that law enforcement is trying to solve. Bottom line, be careful about all conversations, especially those that are recorded.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Rebecca
      Wed, 09 Jun 2010 at 08:07

      If a ex boyfriend gets a restraining order on you and it gets broken and you have to see a judge, can the arresting officer contact people you know that have nothing to do with the restraining order to tell them what happend and get information from them? as well as tell your roommate about something you have in court but have not been charged with? i thought that was personal information.
      Dear Rebecca: In the course of an investigation the police talk to many people. Every case is different and requires professional handling. In a case of domestic violence, national statistics support thorough questioning of anyone involved or having information in order to keep the alleged victim safe. If you have a concern regarding the dissemination of information by an officer, ask the officer involved. If you’re not comfortable doing that, you can speak with a supervisor. Good luck.
      [This is information only -not legal advice].

    • jess
      Wed, 09 Jun 2010 at 08:45

      Can you be convicted solely on texts sent through your phone? I mean, can they just look at your text records because of suspicion and charge/convict you based on nothing other than the word of some others and or sent texts? I mean….how would that be legal? No one can prove who sent the texts right?
      Dear Jess: This is a developing area of the law. If what is written or sent constitutes a crime under the laws of your state, charges may be filed. For example, if the comment is a threat to harm someone, and it can be traced to you as the speaker or writer, then yes, you could be charged. But you’re right, just because the cell phone can be identified through the number, doesn’t by itself mean the owner was the sender. Thanks for asking.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • dejohn
      Thu, 10 Jun 2010 at 08:02

      my probation officer looked threw my phone and seen a picture of a gun. my probation officer put me on intense probation. can she do that?
      Dear Dejohn: Under the terms of your probation, she may be able to search your phone, your car, room, etc. In accepting probation you’ve temporarily given up certain rights including some privacy until you successfully complete your probation terms. Check with your PO to explain what she is able to do as your assigned officer. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • ryan hill
      Sat, 12 Jun 2010 at 12:33

      well i was arrested in las vegas , for burglury , and my phone fell out of my pockets when i was arrested, the arresting officers took my phone , read through it, and texted my girlfriend saying they were going to catch her when she had nothing to do with me and my friend breaking in can they do this legally??
      Dear Ryan: It’s hard to say whether searching your phone and placing a call on it was legal or not. It depends on the nature of their investigation, if it’s ongoing, and the basis for the action they took. Gathering evidence in a crime investigation gives law enforcement broad powers, even if you don’t think what’s done is right or relevant to their contact with you. You could ask a local criminal defense attorney about this. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • rachel n
      Mon, 21 Jun 2010 at 12:16

      I used to work in a store at the mall.One day I went to the mall to do a little shopping with my family before work. during that time my phone had gotten stolen and ended up in my managers hands. He went through my entire personal phone without my permission and without me being on the clock.all this happened outside of work. My privacy was invaded in deed and harassed.
      Dear Rachel: If the phone was a company issued phone, then your manager most likely had the right to go through the phone. If you agreed to certain terms of employment or policies in the workplace when you began working at the store, they may have included waiving some of your privacy interests. However, if it was your own personal phone and you did not agree to sharing its contents with your boss, then your manager would not be entitled to looking through your phone. For more about this issue, click here.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • S.Romain
      Mon, 28 Jun 2010 at 01:13

      My husband is being accused of committing a robbery, detectives did a search warrant (took items) illegal and searched threw my husband phone (making calls) while he was in custody. Can this be used against them in court?
      Dear Ms. Romain: Askthejudge.info is an educational website for teenagers about the law. Your questions are more appropriately addressed to a criminal defense attorney in your area. In addition, we don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Graciela A.
      Sun, 04 Jul 2010 at 04:54

      I was at a party but the party was over after a fight broke out. everyone left an only a couple of us that live in the same street the party was at were stopped by the police some of us were let go an some of us were held an investigated. My brother who is on Probation was with his gf outside our house 3 houses down were the party was at when walkin inside our home the police asked them to sit down wit some of us an they took the phone which he had that was mine an they didnt wanna give it back can they do that?
      Dear Graciela: Whether the police can take your cell phone depends on the circumstances. If they had reason to believe a crime was committed or in the process of being committed, they could take it for investigative purposes. After the investigation is closed you can ask for its return. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • RileymcJew
      Sun, 11 Jul 2010 at 05:42

      I was arrested in connection with a robbery and supply of a Class B, and the police have taken my phone. For one I was wondering if I will everget my phone back off them? And B I was wondering if it is legal for me to claim a new phone off of my insurance?
      Dear Riley: If your phone was used in the robbery, before, during or after, it may be considered evidence in the case against you. If that’s the case, don’t expect to get it back anytime soon. Regarding your insurance you need to look at the specific terms of your policy regarding loss of property and making a claim. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Russell B.
      Sun, 11 Jul 2010 at 01:49

      My cousin’s husband was arrested recently, are the police allowed to read text and online conversations between myself and both my cousin and her husband?
      Dear Russell: If the police consider the conversations as evidence of a crime, they may be able to use them in the case. Depending on the laws of your state, they may or may not need a search warrant before searching the computer or cell phone. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Cassie
      Mon, 12 Jul 2010 at 01:17

      Last night I was held against my will in a Ranger’s investigation. The whole time he treated me like a criminal when I was merely a witness. He asked me information and I merely said I would not disclose that at the time, so he told me he could handcuff me and arrest me there. I told him I knew my rights to shut up. They wouldn’t let us leave. He called backup to the scene and they secluded me, the only woman, from my friends. The other officer treated me with respect but while they left me under watch of a younger “ranger rick”, I was texting on my phone. The “bike cop” snatched my phone from my hand and read my text messages and made phone calls on my phone. When I saw him push a button that sends charges to my phone for the internet I told him and he SCREAMED at me, telling me to shut up and that he didn’t want to hear another word from me… and told me that I was getting two tickets for conspiracy and withholding information, that were going to be bigger charges anyway. This was after I told them everything. They were on such a power trip and I felt so violated the whole time. The first cop even made up lies about occurrences of the situation when his backup arrived on the scene.
      I guess my question is… Was that cop allowed to snatch my phone from my hand? Go through it? And make phone calls on it?
      Dear Cassie: If the police have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime, they can stop and question you, and depending on the circumstances, search you. If they believe your cell phone may contain evidence of your involvement in the case, they can search and confiscate it until the case is closed. When you go to court, you can ask for a lawyer who will explain your rights to you in this situation. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Cassie
      Mon, 12 Jul 2010 at 05:58

      Thank you but I was not suspected of any crime, I was merely a witness that they treated very poorly because I knew the suspect. They can make phone calls from my phone?
      Dear Cassie: In the course of an investigation the police have authority to do many things including the questioning of witnesses. Whether the officer crossed the line in taking your phone and reading some of your messages depends on what he knew at the time, the reason for searching your phone and other factors surrounding the incident. The same is true regarding his making calls from your phone. It may have been in furtherancve of his investigation. You could always speak with a defense attorney or prosecutor in your area about the legality of what took place.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Tommy
      Mon, 12 Jul 2010 at 06:12

      i was pulled over a couple of nights ago because the officer said i was driving to fast for the weather conditions comming up to a traffic light that was turning red. it was 1:30 in the morning and im only 17 ( 18 in a month) the officer told me to call my parents and after i did he was going through my phone looking at pictures and text messages. can he do this?? he also searched my car for no reason i had nothing laying out and no warrents. I did not give him concent to do this but he did anyways. he took my cigarettes andhe gave me 4 tickets, one for apperantly driving to fast for conditions when i was only going 35, one for curfew, one for underage tabbaco, and one for my brake light out. is any of this allowed?
      Dear Tommy: Once you go to court for the tickets you received, the process will be explained to you. You may be appointed a lawyer if you and your parents can’t afford one. Discuss everything that happened with your lawyer. He or she will be able to read the police reports and determine whether everything that happened was legal. Under certain circumstances the police may search a vehicle without a warrant or your consent. The same goes for your cell phone. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • hoffman
      Tue, 13 Jul 2010 at 04:10

      i have a major question here i am from minnesota and these were the conditions of what happened. we were pulled at about 10 oclock. the cop asked us why he pulled us over… we had not committed a traffic offense driving wise and the drivers side seat belt was jammed. didnt have a reason he looked in and then pointed out the seatbelt as if he hadnt even known. took both of our licenses and then went back to the derango. about 5-10 mins later he came back and asked us to step out of the vehicle… then searched us. he found my bowl and a bag. my point being here isnt that an illegal search and sezure expecially without probable cause. then i asked if i could call my girlfreind and he picked up my phone like he was going to give it to me and then started going through it. i told him str8 up that i hadnt given it to him and that was an invasion of privacy. he proceeded to go through it. after all of this he gave us breathalzyers… like what the hell.. all of this by one cop proceedure calls for them to call backup the moment they find anything… tell me this doesnt sound fishy.
      Dear Hoffman: As you know there are two sides to every story. If you go to trial on the tickets or are formally charged, you’ll have a chance to speak with a lawyer and go over all the evidence in the case. Your attorney will be able to read the police report and interview witnesses. If the police officer violated your rights in any way or obtained evidence against you in violation of the search and seizure laws, your lawyer will know what to do. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jon
      Wed, 14 Jul 2010 at 04:30

      Can my probation officer read my text messages?
      Dear Jon: That’s a great question and one that many probationers wonder about. You surrender certain freedoms while on probation and probation officers are given authority to do certain things that others may not do. For example, if you’re on probation for a drug offense and the court has ordered as a term of your probation that you stay clean and submit to drug tests on a random basis, your PO may be authorized to check your room for drugs or your car, and search your phone for contacts or persons you were ordered to stay away from. If the PO finds evidence of drugs or contact with restricted persons, you’re in violation of your probation and may end up back in court. Bottom line: ask your PO to explain to you his or her legal responsibilities as your probation officer. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Dane Cook
      Thu, 15 Jul 2010 at 10:52

      Hypothetical question: If a judge issues a search warrant for your phone and you have a password protecting it, do you have to remove it for them? Would it be considered obstructing the law if you did not?
      Thanks
      Dear Dane: That would depend on the language of the warrant and how extensive a search the court has authorized. If it takes removal of the password to access information on the phone, you’re likely to be asked to remove or provide the password. If you refuse you may be violating the law by obstructing justice, failure to obey a lawful order from the police, etc. depending on the laws of your state. Good question – thanks.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Cole jacobs
      Thu, 15 Jul 2010 at 12:04

      So a couple of my friends and I were walking home because it was past curfew. On the way home one of my friends went into a car and stole a backpack. My other friend and I kept walking cause we knew it was bad. While we were walking a cop pulled us over because it was after curfew. While he was talking to us my friend that stole came running down the sidewalk and when he saw the cop he threw the bag in a bush. After some time of questioning they put us in separate cars. when the cops walked away I quick called my mom so that I could tell her first. The cops came back and ripped the phone out of my hand. After the cops went back to the other cars one officer staid back and looked through my phone. When I saw her doing it I said, “hey hey hey, with all dew respect I don’t believe you can do that” she replied by saying “shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”. I just want to know if the officer had the right to look through my phone?
      Dear Cole: Under certain circumstances the police may take your cell phone and go through it. Sometimes it requires a search warrant, other times it doesn’t. If it’s done in the course of an investigation of a crime, no matter how minor, it may be lawful. To determine if your privacy was violated the whole situation would have to be considered. Your question is one that many people are concerned about but with no definitive answer. It’s one of those questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no because the “totality of circumstances” differs in each case. Talk with your parents about this. They may be able to clarify the situation for you based on what happened and the laws that apply to you. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Cole jacobs
      Thu, 15 Jul 2010 at 12:57

      Do you think I shuld press charges? This cop is known through the city for thinking she is anode the law
      Dear Cole: That’s a decision best made after you and your parents discuss it and talk it over with a lawyer. He or she will be able to size up the situation and tell you whether you have a case or not.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Katherine
      Wed, 21 Jul 2010 at 01:07

      Hello,

      My friend woke up with bruise marks around her neck and didn’t remember where she got them. She had left a message on my phone in the middle of the night as well. I was worried so I made her go to the ER. The police went through my purse and took my phone while I was in the other room. We were NOT at the police station when this happened. They also took my phone as evidence with no warrant saying they need to download everything from it. That would be fine but now they won’t give it back . A) was going through my purse without my permission legal? B) Is it legal for them not to give it back? I mean, they should have to give it back after the info was downloaded, right? Also, I live in California if that helps. Thank you for your response!!!
      Dear Katherine: In the course of a criminal investigation the police are authorized to collect and keep evidence until the case is closed. So, in this case, your cell phone may be part of the case involving your friend and her injuries. Regarding the return of your phone, you can call the police and ask them what their policy is about evidence and when you can expect the return of the phone. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Casey
      Fri, 30 Jul 2010 at 11:47

      okay, the police in the state of new York THINK that i have committed a burglary. The day it happened i wasn’t in school and i texted the kids phone seeing if he was home so we could go riding bike. Is it legal for the state of new York to go through every single text message to try and find any suspicious texts?
      Dear Casey: In the course of a criminal investigation the police can conduct searches with or without a warrant depending on the circumstances. “Probable cause” that a crime has been committed or is being committed is the standard that must be met to support a search warrant. Other circumstances exist in the law that support warrantless searches. Many towns around the country have free legal assistance programs where you can consult a lawyer for 30 minutes or so and obtain advice. You might check with your local court or public library to see if this is available to you. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Casey
      Fri, 30 Jul 2010 at 01:31

      thank you very much. They have no proof of anyone who did it and are watching me they have absolutely no proof i did it… would they be able to access my verizon account and go through my texts legally without a warrant?
      Dear Casey: It’s possible but unlikely unless there’s an immediate chance that the content will be destroyed or lost. Otherwise a warrant would need to be issued to search the phone. The laws regarding search and seizure in your state would apply to this situation.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Larry
      Sun, 01 Aug 2010 at 11:46

      Okay I live in pa and I was recently arrested for hitting my girlfriend… I know I’m pethetic for doing soo and regaurdless of wat she did never deserved that. She doesn’t want to press charges and we wanna be together. Now if I go on probation which is most certaintly gunna happen can he make it soo I can’t have any contact with her? And if so is there anything I can do to stop that. Pleaseeeeee help me!!!! I know I messed up bad and my actions were horrible but I can assure that it’ll never happen again I love this girl with all my heart and we do not wanna lose eachother pleasee help me
      Deart Larry: The judge may order that you have no contact with her in the future. It depends on the facts of the assault, her age and wishes regarding future contact, and other factors. Express your regret to the judge and possibly after some counseling or anger management classes, you’ll be allowed to resume your relationship. If you violate a no-contact order you’ll be facing jail time. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

      Thank you sooo much for your help. She is pregnant with my kid will that make any difference? And if the court doesn’t make a no contact order can my probation officer? She was 17 when the incident happened but now is of age
      Larry: It could make a difference because the judge will be interested in protecting both the mother and baby. And, yes, your probation officer could put her off-limits for a period of time. It depends on the authority he or she has under the law and your probation terms.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Adah Brown
      Sun, 01 Aug 2010 at 07:43

      My son was arrested for domestic violence involving his wife. they both were fighting, he didn’t hurt her.
      The Problem is he’s black and she’s white. The deputies came out and instantly arrested without talking to the two to try to resolve. They seized his phone and searched it illegally and has charged him with lewd act on his wife’s 12 year child. The wife set all pictures up.
      Dear Ms. Brown: Askthejudge.info is an educational website for and about teenagers. We don’t provide legal advice to anyone — adult or teen. We suggest you speak with a criminal lawyer about your son’s situation. All the best.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Dan T
      Mon, 02 Aug 2010 at 11:42

      Recently I was assaulted by two men while walking home. They were charged but police also charged me with drunk in public (I was not drunk). This is the state of VA.

      Before I was taken to jail, I was handcuffed and never told why. During this, they patted me down and took my phone, car keys and wallet.

      My friends were very concerned about my well being and one texted me “Are they seriously taking you to jail” and a police officer actually responded to her “Yes he is”

      This text was deleted from my phone. But she saved it and showed it to me.

      The police also searched through all of my other texts and photos, some of which were very private between my girlfriend and I.

      Did they violate the law?
      Dear Dan: In the routine course of a police investigation and arrest, they are permitted to conduct searches and seize property. The specific circumstances of each case dictate whether the search was legal or not. It is not always necessary for a search warrant to be issued. It is not uncommon for police to search cell phones for further evidence of criminal activity. When you go to court you can discuss this with a public defender who would know the laws in Virginia and have the police report on this incident to review. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • joanell
      Tue, 03 Aug 2010 at 08:29

      Is it Legal in the State of NJ for a male Officer to go threw my personal property such as my pocket book without prior consent or a female Officer present? Is A portable scanner legal in the State of NJ? It was in the closed locked glove compartment in the car they searched first before having me sign a consent form what can I do about this matter?
      Dear Joanell: If you were given a ticket for whatever happened here, you’ll have a chance at court to discuss this with a lawyer. The court may appoint a public defender to represent you depending on your financial situation. The police don’t always need a search warrant to search you, your car, room, locker, etc. The legality of a search depends on what is called the totality of the circumstances. This is a subject to discuss with a lawyer who would know the facts of the case from reading the police report and the laws in your state. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Christopher
      Wed, 04 Aug 2010 at 01:23

      hello sir. i was being stopped for a supposed DUI, when during my sobriety test another officer who happened to be at the gas station I was pulled over at, and was I guess just observing, commented about a text that I recieved, or sent as he thought. does he have the right to be loooking at my phone? and might it help with my trying to plea bargin with the prosecutor?
      Dear Christopher: Police officers are authorized to search for evidence of criminal activity in a course of any investigation. Whether it’s done with or without a warrant depends on what is called the totality of circumstances surrounding the incident. Once you go to court on the ticket you can bring up what happened with your cell phone with either your lawyer or the prosecutor if he or she approaches you with a plea offer. It can’t hurt – but don’t be aggressive about it or demanding. As you know you catch more flies with sugar than vinegar. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • johnny
      Sun, 08 Aug 2010 at 02:31

      my dad loanes my brother his truck and my brother left his truck at home went outta town someone got in there drove the truck to the woods had a meth lab in it. and he had left his cell phone in there too and took truck and phone. can drug task force look at the phone line when it was in a total diffent persons name can they access his account.
      Dear Johnny: In the course of a police investigation the collection of evidence is a common practice. So if the truck contained meth as you said, with or without a search warrant, the police may have been justified in confiscating and searching a cell phone found in the truck. It may contain incriminating evidence that can be used in court. Talk with a local criminal defense lawyer for specific advice about this situation. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Nick
      Mon, 09 Aug 2010 at 05:26

      How far back do phone records go. Can a police officer check text messages that are 6 months old. Or can they never be found again?
      Dear Nick: That depends on your service provider. Every telephone/cell phone company has its own rules and policies. You could call yours and ask. The police can usually obtain, especially with a search warrant, past text messages regardless of age. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Sarah
      Sat, 21 Aug 2010 at 12:48

      I was raped 5 months ago by my ex boyfriend. I have text messages saved on my phone from him admitting to the rape and even threatening to do it again. Would this be enough evidence to have him put in jail?
      Dear Sarah: First thing, Sarah, is you must protect yourself. Threatening someone with injury or harm is a crime. Since you know him and what he’s capable of from the past, you must take this threat seriously. You can notify the police about these messages and they will investigate. If you reported the rape five months ago, they already have a record to work from. Whether the history and text messages are enough to lock him up is a decision law enforcement will make. Good luck and be safe.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jessica
      Mon, 23 Aug 2010 at 10:28

      If I am a rape victim do I need to hire a lawyer for court? I really do not have the money for a lawyer but I also want to win the case. I’ve researched online but I have gotten different answers.
      Dear Jessica: As a victim, there may not be a need for you to have a lawyer. It depends on what is going on in the criminal case. If charges have been filed against the offender and you’re headed to trial, you are probably working with the prosecutor’s office. They don’t represent you officially but their office may have victims’ services or counseling available. Ask about this. If they don’t have such a program they may be able to direct you to someone in the community. You can also discuss with the prosecutor the need for you to be represented. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • kendal
      Mon, 23 Aug 2010 at 08:03

      I was arrested for DUI saturday night. I asked for my phone call and was denied. The officer said he was to busy. After being in the cell for a couple hours i could hear my phone ringing and ringing. While booking another person for DUI The officer gave him my iphone with all my personal info on it and let him answer it twice and tell my business without my consent. Is that legal?
      Dear Kendal: It may not be illegal but it’s certainly unethical. Oftentimes due to the volume of arrestees being processed, mixups regarding personal property happens. Unless the act of the officer was intentional, and that may be very hard to prove, there’s little likelihood of liability here. You may want to consult a lawyer in your area who is familiar with corrections law. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Dylan McGuigan
      Tue, 24 Aug 2010 at 10:47

      I stole a phone from a car and put my sim card in it. it had my text messages in it when i was arrested are the cops allowed to go through my text messages and if so can anything they find in there be used against me in my case?
      Dear Dylan: Under the search, seizure and arrest laws of your state, the police may be authorized to search your phone. Since it was taken in the course of arresting you, part of their investigation may include looking at your text messages for further evidence of criminal activity. Discuss this with your parents and lawyer before you go to court. Your lawyer will have access to the police reports filed and will know how to handle any challenges to the search. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • bob
      Mon, 30 Aug 2010 at 10:49

      hint tell judge what state you are from so he/she can help you better

    • Kenny Robinson
      Fri, 03 Sep 2010 at 05:52

      my iPhone was stolen by armed robbery and the police got it back and took it under investigation. Can they read threw my text messages because of the scenario.
      Dear Kenny: In the course of a criminal investigation the police are authorized to conduct searches. With or without a warrant, depending on the circumstances and the laws of your state, they can search through cell phones and other electronic devices for evidence. Good question, thanks for asking.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • alex
      Tue, 07 Sep 2010 at 03:24

      i live in yuma az if an officer cought me with weed and had a suspision that i was selling it is he allowed to look throgh my cell phone and use it in coart for evedence
      Dear Alex: During the course of a criminal investigation, with or without a warrant depending on the circumstances, the police can conduct a search for evidence. That includes searching your cell phone if it is somehow connected to the criminal activity under investigation. Any evidence discovered on the phone may be used against you if allowed in court. Your lawyer may present a case for its exclusion and the judge will decide whether it’s admissible or not. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • karina
      Wed, 08 Sep 2010 at 06:53

      a few months ago i got caught ditching school by school police, he asked for my phone and i handed it to him. Then he started going through my text messages, can he do that?
      Dear Karina: Depending on the circumstances of this incident he may have been within his authority to search your phone. In the course of an investigation, with or without a search warrant, law enforcement may conduct a search. School resource officers oftentimes have the same authority as the police, in fact many are police officers assigned to a school detail. Talk with your parents about this. You could also check your Student Handbook to see if it addresses cell phones at school. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • orlando
      Thu, 09 Sep 2010 at 07:10

      I live in Audubon nj. A cop came to my house and told me the director of public safety saw my car run a red light in his town. He than took my information and told me if I’m lying I’m in trouble. I told him I didn’t do it and no one conformed me about running a red light. He then told me he needed to take me picture with his own cell phone and to expect a court date in the mail. I feel very voliated and he confronted me on my front porch were my neighbours saw. My wife is 35 weeks pregnant and at high risk, she is very upset and was crying. Please help a young family in nj.
      Dear Orlando: The officer may have been within his rights to speak with you about a reported traffic violation. The photo was probably taken for identification purposes. If you receive a notice in the mail to appear in court, you’ll have a chance to talk with a lawyer and tell your side of the story. You could also talk with a lawyer of your choice at any time about this incident. Some attorneys will give you a free consultation for about 30 minutes – ask his or her office about this if you call. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advcie].

    • brad
      Wed, 15 Sep 2010 at 07:13

      a girl text me offering me drugs & anything I wanted. I replied that we could “relive being at my barn” a few texts later I asked bout the drugs. but I never got anything from her. I am in Ohio. & somehow the cops have her phone & looked through it. can they arrest me solely on that text?
      Dear Brad: It’s unlikely you broke the law by talking about drugs or texting about a past experience. However what you say, text or write may be used as evidence in support of an actual transaction or use of an illegal drug. All the best.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • joe
      Sat, 18 Sep 2010 at 04:42

      My friend and i were “smoking weed” in a park and a cop rolled up on us and we ran. My friend left his phone and the cop used it to reapetedly call me and ask where we were(even though i told him to stop calling because he was harrasing me) then the cop went through his texts and recent calls and called people before he took our weed. Is that legal in California?
      Dear Joe: Whether the officer could search your friend’s cell phone and read his text messages depends on the laws of your state and any possible court decisions that have recenly been made. If the officer saw you smoking weed, then he may have had reasonable suspicion or probable cause of criminal activity justifying the warrantless search. However, at least one state supreme court (Ohio) has ruled that the police must have a warrant before searching a cell phone unless the officer’s safey is in danger. Many states have not yet ruled on this issue since it’s a new developing area of the law. You could try contacting a local criminal attorney for a free consultation if you are currently facing criminal charges from the incident. He/she will be able to provide more information specific to the laws of your state. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Lauren
      Wed, 29 Sep 2010 at 03:37

      If I am on pre trial diversion and I have followed all the rules never failed a drug test, can the DA or probation officers look at my text messages or listen to phone calls just cause??
      Dear Lauren: It depends on the laws of your state as well as the terms of your probation, but generally, when you are on probation or assigned a probation officer, you give up certain rights. Probation officers often have the ability to conduct a search of a person’s room or home or possibly his/her cell phone without probable cause, which usually is required by the police before conducting searches. Ask your probation officer to review the terms of your diversion program with you so you know what your P.O. may and may not do. If you still have questions or concerns about your rights, you could try contacting a local criminal attorney. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal rights.]

    • Jaquan
      Thu, 30 Sep 2010 at 04:24

      Hi, I live in Ga. friend of mine got in trouble in in school suspension and for reason’s i don’t know of he was searched and they took my friends phone. I’ve had my phone taken away before by another teacher and he told me to turn my phone off before i give it to him. Apparently when my friend gave him his phone this guy went through his texts seeing conversations between me and him of cannabis related activities. The only reason i think this would be legal to look at the texts if he saw something illegal on the screen when he took the phone. So my friend says i’m “screwed”. Am I really? I don’t go to the same school anymore, they don’t the proper spelling of my name, and is this enough evidence for them to do anything? thank you for your time.
      Dear Jaquan: First, in order to keep with our No Profanity Policy, we substituted a word in your question. In the course of a police investigation into a crime or possible crime, they are authorized to collect evidence. In today’s digital world that may include evidence from electronic devices including laptops, cell phones, iPads, etc. If you end up being charged with a crime, discuss the facts of the case with your lawyer. He/she will be able to tell you whether the collection of evidence was lawful. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Chris
      Mon, 11 Oct 2010 at 04:47

      I saw all your great helpful responses to everyone else, so i wanted to ask you a question. I was walking down the street in the state of Florida and a cop was walking passed me, and he must have been able to tell i was high on marijuana by looking at my eyes, as they were bloodshot and heavy. He told me to hand him my phone immediately and i told him no it’s my privacy. He told me I was going to jail unless i cooperated and handed it over, so i did. He first read through my contacts, then texts and saw one from “____ dealer” and read the text of the location of where we met and that i purchased a gram of marijuana. He took out a pad and paper and wrote the name and phone number down. He then told me to “keep your god damn mouth shut you druggy, if you warn him about this, I’ll see to it that you’ll never see the light of day, believe me, i have connections.” He then tossed my iphone into my chest, and i luckily caught it, as it may have broken if it hit the ground as proceeded to enter his car and drive away. Did he have the power to do this under Florida law?
      Dear Chris: The police are authorized, as you know, to investiage criminal activity. Once he saw you and observed what he might have concuded was possession or use of marijuana, he could question you. As far as taking and searching your phone, that’s another matter. If he believed, in the course of his investigation, that you had evidence of ongoing crimes such as sale or distribution of drugs, he could search your phone. State laws regarding search and seizure apply here so you have to look at the status in Florida. His threats against you are not appropriate. If you’re a minor , we’d suggest you discuss this with your parents. But, considering the circumstances, we understand if you hesitate to do that. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Sara
      Mon, 11 Oct 2010 at 08:52

      This guy threatened me through txt messaging…i want to report him. Will cops have to go on computers and stuff to receive deleted txt messaging..when i have the exact threat locked on my phone? I go to a tech school and im in protective services. Both of my teachers are cops. i want to report this to him. because the threat is dangerous. but i was wondering if they go to ur phone company to get deleted txt messages to investigate.
      Dear Sara: A police investigation may include a search of the phone including all text messages. The police are authorized to search for all evidence to support a crime that’s been committed or being committed. Even though you have the threat saved on your phone, they may want to search further for relevant evidence. The important thing for your safety is that you report any threat or harassment. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Ashley
      Mon, 11 Oct 2010 at 11:47

      Me and My boyfriend got into a fight and he wanted to commit suicide but i talked him out of it, apparently somehow cops had found out about this and took his phone to read his text messages.this was several hours after the fight and they used his phone to call his friends and ask them if they knew about the suicide threat. how would they find out about him saying this stuff? and did they have the right to go through his phone?
      Dear Ashley: During the course of a police investigation they are authorized to conduct searches. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, they need a search warrant but not always. Reading text messages on cell phones is becoming standard around the country and is sometimes challenged in court. There are many aspects to this new area of law and you have to refer to your state’s laws about it. In a suicide situation, there’s no time to delay and almost any information obtainable to save a life is permissible. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Chelsea
      Tue, 12 Oct 2010 at 04:52

      I called the cops and told them i needed to speak to them about some personal stuff so they took my information and then later on that day come to find out they told my parents. Im 21 not 15 what can i do about this because i dont appriciate my personal problems being thrown out to people, parents or not.
      Dear Chelsea: Not knowing the circumstances or exact details of this situation, we can’t comment on whether any rights or laws have been violated. There are many situations where the police, in the course of fulfilling their duties, share information with others, including parents. You may want to discuss this with a local lawyer familiar with privacy rights and law enforcement. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Alex
      Tue, 26 Oct 2010 at 05:25

      My friend is on probation and can the cops see what he texts and recieves on his phone? Like can they see him send text messages to his friends?
      Dear Alex: That depends on the terms of his probation. Whatever the court ordered has to be followed or your friend is in violation of his probation and will be back before the judge. If the police believe a crime is or has been committed, they may be able to search his phone for evidence. If he’s been ordered not to use a cell phone while on probation, his probation officer can check his phone to see if he’s following that term. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • fleck
      Thu, 28 Oct 2010 at 12:34

      Can a probation officer legally check his girlfriend’s and her friend’s text messages and emails? Nobody’s messages that he is checking are in any kind of legal trouble, not comitting any sort of crimes, no conspiracies. He is simply a jealous, insecure man.
      Dear Fleck: You need to check to see if your state has laws regarding “cell phone privacy.” Google the name of your state and these words for details about this. A probation officer may have lawful authority to search his or her probationer’s phone but not someone who isn’t on probation or in the justice system. Courts are starting to recognize that cell phone owners have privacy rights and a reasonable expectation of privacy for phones provided by employers. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jen
      Mon, 01 Nov 2010 at 09:57

      My boyfriends mom took his phone and looked through all of his text messages. She is threatening to call the police on us and get us arrested. Can this happen? and are the cops allowed to get a search warrant just by going through his text messages? The messages may seem like he is selling or growing or smoking weed… just because a text message says that doesnt mean you can get in trouble for it right? Dont you have to have proof or get caught in order to get you in trouble?
      Dear Jen: This is a new area of the law that every state is confronting forthe first time. When an officer can look at a person’s text messages is the first legal question that depends on the specific state’s laws as well as the circumstances of the case. Some states may require reasonable suspicion or probable cause before searching a person’s cell phone. However, if your boyfriend’s mom turns the phone over to the police to look at, they may have “consent” to search through the texts. The texts may lead to a further investigation including questioning the suspects and/or any witnesses as well as possibly conducting surveillance. The police may be able to use the texts against your boyfriend in court, but to find a person guilty beyond a reasaonble doubt, additional evidence is probably necessary. You and/or your boyfriend could try contacting a local defense attorney for more information. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Tic
      Tue, 02 Nov 2010 at 08:28

      i know someone who go busted doing a drug deal at the exact time and place described through text message. My question is can local police stations view your text messages remotely? South florida
      Dear Tic: We are uncertain of the technology used or necessary in order to more or less tap a person’s cell phone; however, it is possible for the police to do this, but most likely they need a warrant first depending on the laws of your state. Many states are confronting the issue of cell phone searches for the first time and some have held that an officer must have a warrant before searching a person’s cell phone. So, in your friend’s case, it’s possible that the police somehow tapped his/her cell phone or obtained the information through the cell phone service provider possibly after obtaining a warrant.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Jenny
      Thu, 04 Nov 2010 at 08:04

      Hello, I was recently attacked by a male with a loaded weapon. He proceeded to club me multiple times with the weapon. I immediatley called the police to seek medical attention to the wounds on my face. I had a pipe in my possesion and was given a ticket for paraphenalia. In the process my phone was stolen. Can the police in nc use the phone as incriminating evidence against me for the elleged distribution of narcotics?
      Dear Jenny: During the course of a criminal investigation, the police are authorized to collect evidence. Cell phones are taken when the contents contribute to evidence of criminal activity. Once the case is resolved, the phone may be returned but it may be a while. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • greg wilson
      Thu, 18 Nov 2010 at 06:36

      a friend of mine was arrested for growing a few marijuana plants. He was told that if he can bring people to the police that his sentence would not be as harsh. Do I have to worry if my number is in his phone or in his text history. would those texts be evidence against the person who is linked to the number?
      Dear Greg: If the texts appear to be incriminating against you, they certainly could be used as evidence. At the same time, the police would probably need more evidence than just texts to charge and convict you. For example, the police may want to conduct surveillance and get more information to go forward with a prosecution. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Caleb
      Fri, 26 Nov 2010 at 08:05

      I had lost my phone about a month ago and couldnt not find it, So i got the number disconnected. I recently got into a car accident and was taking to the police station to fill out the report. I noticed as i sat there in the office that my LOST cell phone was taken apart and apparently gone through. I went up there 2day to ask nicely if i could get my cell phone back and the office told me i couldnt have it back because it was being used for some sort of evidence. How can they take a lost phone and completly search through my life when the phone was lost. Y couldnt they of called my cell phone provider and found out who it was. i live in a small town of less than 1300 people. What right do i have that they can just take my phone and search though it with no reason at all. And what right do i even have for owning a cell phone. What if i had my budget, income, or say social security number on it????? and what is this coming 2 when personal property is not personal but global.
      Dear Caleb: The search and seizure laws of your state apply to this situation. Generally, when a crime has been or is in the process of being committed, law enforcement may gather evidence during its investigation. Cell phones and text messages are ways to investigate contacts and ongoing criminal activity. Cases involving legal and illegal searches are just now making their way through the courts since this is a fairly new area of the law. Whether or not the police can search through a lost cell phone will depend on the laws of your state and any specific cases that have addressed this issue. You may want to contact a local defense attorney for more information. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Ben
      Mon, 29 Nov 2010 at 12:34

      A few months ago i got pulled over and a cop confiscated my phone on suspicion of me selling marijuana. Then just a few days ago a friend of mine got a txt from the phone, saying it was me and trying to meet up so they could smoke pot. The police were the ones texting off of my phone and pretending to be me. Dont they need my permission befroe they can pretend to be me and use my name?
      Dear Ben: That’s a good question and one that happens often. As you know, law enforcement has various methods of investigating crime. They can search and seize items with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances. They can also make arrangements for transactions in order to identify criminal activity. Police around the country are using e-technology in their crime-fighting efforts. When they have probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed, they can act to solve the crime. So, yes, in most states the police are authorized to use confiscated cell phones to pursue criminals. Whether they can actually use your name without permission is another matter. By using your phone, your name may show up on caller ID, but that’s not the same as an officer saying he’s you. The exact facts of the transaction must be studied to see if police policy is followed, etc. You can always contact a criminal defense lawyer and ask about this and how the laws of your state apply. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Haylee
      Mon, 29 Nov 2010 at 07:57

      Can my mom take my phone to the police station and have the texts read for no apparent reason, just being curious? I live in Tennessee.
      Dear Haylee: If you’re a minor living at home, your parents have authority over you in almost all aspects of life. If they suspect that you’re involved in breaking the law or violating a school rule, they can look into it and even ask the police for help. Whether the police can search your phone depends on the laws of your state. Generally, with your parents consent they can. Bottom line, be careful about what you say and do online and by cell phone. Texting, for example, that turns into sexting is criminal in some states. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Stephanie
      Tue, 30 Nov 2010 at 12:12

      Yesterday, a marijuana dealer that I personally know was arrested for selling. He was texting me before the arrest about his interest in drugs that I’m prescribed to. Can I get in trouble for this? Located in Indiana.
      Dear Stephanie: You wouldn’t be in trouble for text messages sent to you unless you responded and the content of the messages support a conspiracy to sell, transport, etc. drugs. You would have to look to Indiana criminal law to see what constitutes a drug crime. Generally, receiving messages alone does not constitute a crime. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jacob
      Tue, 30 Nov 2010 at 04:26

      the police took my phone wen i was arrested for a day , they came to my house becuase they had warrant searched and took some clothes and pair of shoes of that i was wearing at that time.my case is pretty serious because i was charged with rape and thats not how it went down , we did have sex but it wasnt a rape . before the night of incident we were talking on msn for a long time , i had her saying how she would wear short dress and take her pills etc
      i saved the msn chat for two weeks , but wen one day my sister used my laptop it was all gonne ..i was worried after that because i thought didnt have anything to prove my innocence, but in my iphone there were txtx going back and fourth between us and that could prove something wich is good .. but the thing is there were other txts from long time ago that me and some haters were treathning each other ..and a few others that i would lie about my age and just txting alotta girls that i got there number randomly ,some would say F*ck off and i would just swear at them
      could these txts be used against me in the court ?
      and incase you are wondering she is 18 and im 19 ,just few months older than her
      and i know the porpose of this site but anything you say would be appretiated thank you
      much love from New zealand
      Dear Jacob: The police may be interested in the text messages from the past, but only if they shed any light on the current charges. In other words if they showed a pattern of conversation or threats that would support the rape charge. Your attorney may also be interested in them if they help your defense of the charges. Discuss this with your lawyer for the best advice. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • john
      Tue, 30 Nov 2010 at 04:53

      Yesterday i hit a tree while driving and left the scene, also leaving my car there. I forgot my phone there and the police recovered it. Is it legal for them to read my text messages when they already had the information needed to contact me?
      Dear John: When the police investigate a crime they have authority to search anywhere necessary with or without a search warrant. The circumstances of the criminal activity dictates their ability to do a complete and thorough investigation. So, in this case, since you left the scene and your cell phone behind, they may have probable cause to search it for additional evidence. If you are charged with a crime discuss this with your lawyer or public defender. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Will
      Tue, 30 Nov 2010 at 10:46

      Dear judge guy,this girl sent me and another guy the same naked picture. I’m 14 and she’s 16. The Louisiana sexting bill was not passed until august 15, 2010. She sent it to me after this date. I was not aware of the new law until now. The other kid she sent the picture to sent it around to other people. One boys mom found it and called the police. She texted me last night saying the police came to her house and she got in trouble. She sent that guy the picture before august 15. She told the police I was the one sending it around and showing it off. I’m not. It isn’t even on my phone. I want to know what kind of trouble I will be in. The police do not know she sent me the picture. They think the other guy sent it to me and I helped send it around. What is going to happen and how can I help make them believe me. I’m on AT&T so they can’t see my texts:( help please!
      Dear Will: First, if all this happened before the effective date of your state’s law, then you haven’t committed a crime. If all you did was open the text message but didn’t send it on to anyone else, you didn’t break the law. Some states have made it a crime to receive a sext message and send it on to even one person. It’s good that you deleted it from your phone. Just because someone says you sent the photo around doesn’t mean you did. Your carrier will have records of your cell phone activity if the police decide to investigate this further. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • John
      Sat, 04 Dec 2010 at 03:54

      A drug dealer got busted today. There are texts in his phone with a lot of my friends asking to buy and talking about buying. Can they get into trouble if the police take his phone?
      Dear John: The search and seizure laws of your state apply to this situation. Generally, when a crime has been or is in the process of being committed, law enforcement may gather evidence during its investigation. Cell phones and text messages are ways to investigate contacts and ongoing criminal activity. Cases involving cell phone searches are just now making their way through the courts since this is a fairly new area of the law. The police may discover evidence against your friends during the search of the cell phone, but it is likely that they will need more evidence than just a text message to arrest or charge your friends. However, the discovered messages could certainly lead to further investigation in order to look for additional evidence.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • brett
      Wed, 08 Dec 2010 at 04:36

      i live in oklahoma. a friend of mine’s phone was confiscated by police in suspicion of drug charges. can past texts be searched and me arrested based on those incriminating messages? also, could my cell phone records be subpoenaed with the purpose of putting more crimes on my court list. no police sirens have been going outside of my house so i’m good so far. i left out some other questions.
      could they also subpoena my banking records to look for further information? or even my isp for visiting certain websites?
      Dear Brett: When the police are investigating a crime, they have extensive authority to collect evidence with or without a warrant. The circumstances regarding the incident dictate the extent of their investigation. Text messages, like all other forms of communication including letter, postcard, email, etc. are used in criminal prosecutions. During an investigation your records could be subpoenaed as well as bank records and isp data if relevant to the case. Whether the evidence collected can be admitted into evidence at trial is a matter for the defense attorney to challenge. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • brett
      Thu, 09 Dec 2010 at 01:15

      ^ i understand that the prosecution can use any evidence in a trial. but the steps leading up to an arrest. scenario: i send a text to a confiscated cell phone saying, “hey man do u have any?”. do the police have the authority to go to my banking records, look at my websites visited, or even tap my cell phone? i’m pretty sure i’m in the clear since it’s been almost a week with the phone confiscated and police haven’t busted through my door waving guns.
      Dear Brett: First, the prosecution doesn’t have free reign to use any and all evidence at trial. That is why there are Rules of Evidence in every state that must be followed. If you’re on trial, your lawyer’s job is to see that the state introduces what is called “admissible” evidence. The judge decides what comes in and what stays out. Too technical, we know, but that’s the case. The text “hey man do u have any?” could apply to anything, not necessarily drugs. You have to look at the whole conversation and subject discussed to determine if it’s evidence of criminal activity. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal adsvice].

    • Lex
      Mon, 13 Dec 2010 at 05:22

      If the cops think a 18 year old had sex with a minor can they look through text messages to prove it? and how else would they be able to prove it? Like if there were witnesses could that get him arrested?
      Dear Lex: If they have reason to believe that there are text messages to support a criminal act, the police may search a cell phone with or without a warrant depending on the total circumstances. They may have additional evidence through witnesses, or from people who the juvenile girl told, etc. Good luck. Remember, ignorance of the law and of the girl’s age are not a defense to the act.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Tera
      Mon, 13 Dec 2010 at 06:26

      someone told on my friend at school for selling drugs, the cops came to the school and the cops and the principal took her phone and read the text messages. Me and some of my friends have texted her before about drugs and drinking. if the cops see those text messages, can they give us a drug test and can we get in trouble for the text messages? can you get in trouble for failing a drug test?
      Dear Tera: If your school has a drug testing program and you fail it, then there are most likely consequences. That may include attending a class or a meeting with your parents present. Schools don’t usually bring in the police for this. Your text messages about drugs, whether selling or buying, could lead to further investigation by the police. The messages themselves may not constitute a crime but they could lead to discovery of an actual sale, etc. if you’re involved. Remember, anything you post online or by cell phone is out there forever. You can’t take it back. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Timothy
      Tue, 14 Dec 2010 at 12:48

      i was recently stopped by garden city police in nassu county for a speeding (45MPH in a 30)and window tint, it is clear i was not using my cell phone while i was driving (i didnt recieve a ticket for that). when the police officer approached me, the first thing he said to me was to “turn the cell phone off”, he repeated this several times, he did not ASK me, he ORDERED me to turn it off 3 different times. if my cell phone was never a part of the traffic stop, can he order me to turn off my phone? (i had my MP3 player on playing music through my bluetooth, that is why it was flipped open when he seen it, and assumed either i was placing a call or i had someone on the other line listening to us!)
      Dear Timothy: When the police are conducting a traffic stop or any investigation, they have authority to issue orders in the interest of public and officer safety. He may have had reason to order you to turn off your cell phone or it may be his department’s policy. It is a crime in most states to disobey a lawful order from a law enforcement officer. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jake
      Tue, 14 Dec 2010 at 05:25

      If the phone with which text messages were sent and recieved is unavailable, can the police obtain ours or someone else’s text message content from the phone company itself by way of a search warrant?

      If so, do the text messages have to have been sent/recieved recently or can they also obtain much older text message contents (from the phone company) by way of a search warrant?
      Dear Jake: Once a search warrant is issued the police are allowed to search and seize whatever is listed in the warrant. Search warrants are issued by judges who must be presented probable cause to believe that a crime has been or is being committed. They aren’t broad orders authorizing a search for anything. The warrant must be specific to the suspected criminal activity. The date of the evidence (messages) may not be significant – there aren’t limits on dated materials unless so ordered by the court. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Timothy
      Wed, 15 Dec 2010 at 09:21

      I SINCERELY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT A CELL PHONE, THAT IS NOT EVEN IN MY HANDS, AND IS SITTING IN THE CHAIR NEXT TO ME, CAN BREACH ANYONES SAFETY, HE MIGHT AS WELL SAY “WHILE I’M CONDUCTING MY OFFICIAL POLICE BUSINESS I AM GOING TO HOLD POSSESSION OF YOUR PHONE, AND WHEN I’AM DONE, YOU’LL GET IT BACK!” BECAUSE WHETHER ITS OPEN OR CLOSED, TURNED ON OR OFF, I STILL HAVE THE SAME ACCESS TO IT. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN HE WALKS AWAY BACK TO HIS CAR? WHO’S TO SAY I’M NOT ON THE PHONE THEN? OR WHO’S TO SAY I CANT USE IT THEN? WHAT I THINK IS THAT WHILE HE’S TALKING, WHETHER IT’S TO YOU, SOMEONE IN THE CAR, PEOPLE ACROSS THE STREET OR IN THE VICINITY, OR WHATEVER, HE WANTS TO KNOW WHO’S THERE IN THE SURROUNDINGS, SEEN OR UNSEEN. BECAUSE SOME CELL PHONES HAVE VOICE RECORDERS. I DONT KNOW HOW THE OFFICER WOULD REACT/FEEL IF HE KNEW HE WAS BEING RECORDED. I DONT THINK HE’LL LIKE IT VERY MUCH, ESPECIALLY IF HE’S THE BALL-BUSTING TYPE.
      Thanks for your comments, Tim.

    • Cortney
      Fri, 17 Dec 2010 at 01:05

      I got arrested for petty larceny, bugalrey, and possesion of a controlled substance. I have NEVER been in trouble before! What is going to happen to me? I’m a single mom who is engaged to be married, own a house and have ties to the community. I’m SO scared and embarresed for my actions!
      Dear Cortney: Askthejudge.info is an educational website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. Consequently, we don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We will tell you, however, that since this is your first brush with the law, you may be offered “diversion.” That means if you admit the charges and complete the terms of diversion, the case will be closed. Terms may include substance abuse counseling and random drug testing, community service, a fine, restitution to the victim, etc. It’s entirely up to the court to decide the consequence. You could also receive a term of probation with some of these same terms. There is also the possibility of jail time. Again that’s up to the judge. Discuss all of this with your lawyer/public defender. He/she will know the laws that apply to you and the policies of the court. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • chris
      Mon, 20 Dec 2010 at 03:49

      I had gotten into a car accident on a rainy night. No one was injured I was the only one in my car and I hydroplaned into a median. Everything went well,the first officers on site were very nice and I was completly compliant with all of their questions. The one officer had given me a ride back to my friends house and I left my phone in the officers back seat. I called several times and they responded every time stating that they have no records of a phone on this day. Are they allowed to search through my phone and lie to me that they don’t have it?
      Dear Chris: If the police have your phone, they may have reason to go through it to identify the owner and contact you. If they have reason to believe that messages support commission of a crime they may be able to read them with or without a search warrant. The exact details regarding their possession of the phone, if they have it, must be considered.
      As far as lying to you about it, no they shouldn’t but people lie all the time. If you find that to be the case, you can report it to the officer’s supervisor. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Mike
      Tue, 21 Dec 2010 at 05:49

      Hello, I live in the state of Florida and had a question. See a buddy of mine was arrested for “car hopping” or stealing items from other people’s cars. I was part of the situation and ended up getting caught. My friend however managed to escape. I had to give all of the information on him including his address. I then signed a paper stating that I authorize the police to search my phone for evidence of the situation. If they read any text messages that have nothing to do with what happened (buying weed), could they charge me with anything?
      Dear Mike: That would depend on the exact content of the messages and the laws in your state. When the police investigate a case and come across additional evidence of criminal activity, they may expand their investigation. So, if they read messages that support your involvement with drugs, whether it’s selling, buying, transporting etc., they could refer their findings to the local prosecutor who decides if a law has been broken or not. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Nia
      Tue, 04 Jan 2011 at 11:21

      I am a rape victim. The police asked to see one txt from my bf who raped me but them proceeded to look at other txts dating back weeks (I have an iPhone so it’s easy). I also have a pass code which in my opinion deems things “private.” So, is this legal? He didn’t ask he just did so and didn’t inform me of it either.
      Dear Nia: We’re sorry to hear about this incident and hope you’re doing well. During the course of an investigation, the police have authority, with or without a warrant depending on the circumstances, to conduct searches of property. Their duty is to do everything possible to solve the crime. Text messages may be valuable evidence in the case and help prosecute the offender. If you have concerns about the way your case is being handled, ask the officer or detective involved for an explanation and, if not satisfied, contact his or her supervisor. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • scared
      Thu, 20 Jan 2011 at 06:17

      Hi. Recently a few of my friends have been trying to sell drugs around the school, and I had been asking questions about it (price, what it’s like, how big is a normal dose, etc.) I had never agreed to purchase any or organized a meeting place or done any drugs. If I have said I wanted to try it (even though I had no intention of doing so because it’s illegal and unsafe, I was just curious about the experience) can the police or school board prosecute me for sending/ receiving those text messages? And will they be able to get a subpoena from the court to go through my text messages (that would have to be obtained from the verion wireless database)? I am from Georgia.
      Thankyou so much
      Dear Scared: What constitutes a crime depends on the laws in your state. As you know, free speech is one of our greatest freedoms, but it’s not unlimited. Hate speech or speech that constitutes an actual threat of harm, for example, is not protected speech. Your text messages alone may not be a crime unless they are evidence of criminal activity. In other words, if you purchased or sold illegal drugs, your statements online or by text may be part of the state’s case against you. Discuss this with your parents or an adult you trust. Think before you act.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Kayla
      Thu, 20 Jan 2011 at 06:33

      My husband and I both have cellphones. Unfortunately,the account is in his name. Is it legal for him to pull up my deleted emails, deleted texts, and change my password on my yahoo and facebook without my permission? He often takes my phone without permission and could possibly have put spyware on it. Recently he took my sd card. I live in Ga. Thanks for your help
      Dear Kayla: Cyber-speech and privacy is a developing area of the law in the U.S. Every state is debating these issues in courtrooms and classrooms. A recent case on the very issue you raise is pending in a Michigan court (Google “Leon Walker” for the story). The answer depends on your state laws. We suggest you speak with a police officer or contact your county attorney’s office. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Anna
      Mon, 24 Jan 2011 at 10:15

      If you didnt send pictures but you were “talking dirty” to someone is that considered sexting? and can teens get in trouble for it?
      Dear Anna: Sexting, under laws in most states, involves photos, illustrations, etc. not simply words. Free speech protects words but is not unlimited. For example, hate speech and threats are not protected under the First Amendment. Even though “talking dirty” may not get you in trouble with the police, what you post can come back to haunt you later in life. As you know the Internet never forgets and your posts are out there forever. Think B4 U Click.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Luke
      Tue, 25 Jan 2011 at 04:02

      In The State of MA, if my cellphone was siezed from me during an investigation into distribution of class D, and I was put on probation with no finding, am I able to retrieve my cellphone when my probation ends?
      Dear Luke: That depends on the laws in your state and the policies of law enforcement. Oftentimes property that is seized in the course of a criminal investigation is confiscated and eventually either destroyed or put up for public auction. Ask your probation officer about this. He or she should know the laws that apply to you. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Jane
      Mon, 31 Jan 2011 at 09:29

      If my friend’s cell phone has been willingly given to the police, can those whom he has texted be incriminated? Are the police able to obtain a search warrant for those whom he has texted if the text messages are drug related?
      Dear Jane: When the police are investigating a crime or come across evidence of ongoing criminal activity they have extensive powers to collect further evidence with or without a search warrant. Piecing together conversations, even on cellphones, may lead to criminal charges depending on the specific laws of your state and the methods used in obtaining the evidence. Your question is fairly broad so a specific yes or no isn’t possible. There is a concept in the law called the “totality of circumstances” that comes into play. The whole picture must be looked at in determining what parts make up the whole, what’s admissible in court or what’s to be excluded as inadmissible evidence. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Sam
      Thu, 03 Feb 2011 at 07:16

      hello, my freind and i got caught having possesssion of marijuana,hash oil and a half of a small zanex bar. later on, after they searched the car and patted us down,i said “officer may i have my phone? i left it in the car” and he said “Why do you need it?” i just said because i didnt want to forget it in my freinds car. he grabbed it for me but before that,looked through my pictures,texts,contacts,and videos i had on my phone. can he do that?
      Dear Sam: What the officer did may have been legal depending on many factors: what he knew at the time of the search, if he had probable cause that a crime had been or was in the process of being committed, your criminal history, etc. When the police are investigating criminal activity they have authority to collect evidence in support of the crime. Messages on cellphones may be considered as evidence. If you are charged with any crimes from this incident, discuss your concerns with your attorney. He or she will know how to handle any unlawfully obtained evidence. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Patrick
      Fri, 04 Feb 2011 at 10:22

      I am a petitioner in an unrelated custody case in the state of Iowa. I subpoena’d text messages between my child’s mother and I from the phone company and they sent me ALL of hers. In the contents there is a copy of a conversation that is between her and another individual where they are discussing the other party stealing property from his employer for my son’s mom and they met up at Wal-Mart to exchange the property. How do I let the police know without revealing where I got the information or who I got it from?
      Dear Patrick: If you have an attorney in your custody case, discuss this with him/her. They would know how to proceed under the laws in your state and if a Silent Witness program exists that you may contact. If you decide to use this evidence in your custody case, the source will likely be disclosed on cross-examination or by order of the court. These are legal considerations that should be explored with an attorney. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • bennett
      Sat, 05 Feb 2011 at 01:16

      my friend was raped when she went to the police to the detective on her case brought of text conversations between her and her boyfriend she never gave the police her phone is this legal
      Dear Bennett: What the police can search and seize during an ongoing investigation varies based on the laws of that state as well as the specific facts and circumstances. If the police somehow uncovered your friend’s text messages without having her cell phone in their possession, they may have received consent from another party such as her boyfriend or they may have searched her boyfriend’s phone based on the evidence. In many circumstances, it is legal for the police to conduct such a search of a cell phone which may be based on the evidence before them, consent or a warrant.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Kauj
      Mon, 07 Feb 2011 at 11:52

      I got a cell phone with a new number and now my old number is being used by someone else. However, I have many old friends/family members who thinks I still have that old number and would try to either text/call me. The person with my old number is pretending to be me and also saying obscene things such as “I [person pretending to be me] dropped out of school and is now doing cocaine.” The person also asks them if they can borrow money as well. Rather than ignoring/letting my peers/family know that I’ve changed my number, the person is just saying nasty things that puts me in many bad situations. Is this potential blackmail? What can I do and is it possible that I can report this situation?
      Dear Kauj: The only way you’ll get this to stop is to report it to the police and/or service provider. If you contact the service provider they will investigate and hopefully put an end to it by changing the number or cancelling service to the person doing this. According to the laws in your state he or she may be committing a crime. The police will investigate and take the appropriate action. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Austin
      Wed, 09 Feb 2011 at 09:55

      i got pulled over for a traffic violation, the officer suspected i had marijuana on my person and asked to search the car, i did not however give him consent to search my phone is that allowed
      Dear Austin: It depends on the circumstances of the stop, what the officer knew at the time and your state laws regarding search and seizure. If he had probable cause to believe that a traffic violation was committed and he pulled you over, his investigation may extend to a search and seizure of items found on your person and in your car if, for example, he smelled marijuana coming from the car. Searching a cellphone may be included in the investigation since it may contain evidence supporting the use, sale or transportation of drugs. If you’re charged with any crimes from this incident, talk with your lawyer about this. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • David
      Fri, 11 Feb 2011 at 07:20

      my friend got her phone taken away when she was videotaping a fight and the police took it away without a warrant. so i was wondering is there a way to get it back.
      Dear David: Since her phone has evidence of the fight that the police may need if formal charges are filed, they might keep it until the case is over. Your friend should let them know, if they don’t already, who the phone belongs to so she can be notified when it becomes available. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • brittany
      Wed, 16 Feb 2011 at 11:01

      i was was caught at a house and charged with burglary in the 3rd degree. my friend pulled up after the police had done got there and he had a warrent for faliure to pay on a fine and they took his cell phone from him and went through it and are keeping it and useing his text aginst me. can they legaly do that?
      Dear Brittany: When the police are investigating a crime they have authority to collect evidence in the case. If statements on a cellphone support are useful in the investigation, the police may keep the phone until the case is over. If you are charged with burglary, let your lawyer know about the text messages. He/she will know how to handle this bit of evidence. Keep in mind in the future that whatever you post online or text can be retrieved and possibly used against you. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Travis
      Wed, 23 Feb 2011 at 03:22

      How long can law enforcements trace back old deleted text messages? I was looking at comments and the question popped up. For example: if someone is killed and 6 months later they find a suspect and want to check texting records. Is it possible if the texts are deleted from the actual phone? If so how long can they trace it back?
      Dear Travis: That would depend on the service provider and their policies of retaining messages. Even if deleted from the original sender’s cellphone, the text message that’s gone out can be endlessly saved or spread to others. Once out there, there’s no getting it back. Police have the authority in conducting criminal investigations to collect evidence from all sources. With or without a search warrant, depending on the circumstances, they can access phone and computer records.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tim
      Mon, 07 Mar 2011 at 01:58

      I recently got into some trouble for arson in the 2nd degree, which is a felony, if they got a warrant would they look up texts from the time inbetween now and when the crime was commited, or would they look up all my records, or would they look up records having to do with arson or fire or ect? and My carrier is T-Mobile how far back could they trace messages?
      Dear Tim: When the police are investigating a crime they have the authority to collect evidence including phone records and text messages. How far back they can go depends on the length of time your service provider keeps them. There is no law limiting the police from obtaining those records regardless of age. Depending on the circumstances, the police collect evidence with or without a search warrant. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • eric
      Tue, 08 Mar 2011 at 06:59

      i recently got pulled out of my class by a police offcier do they have the authority to go on my facebook and print out all my messages and convesations with others is that allowed in california
      Dear Eric: When the police are investigating a crime they have the authority, with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances, to collect evidence. Text messages, emails, etc. may be evidence of criminal activity. What happened to you may have been legal under the “totality of circumstances” test. Discuss this with your parents. They may want to review the situation with a school official or possibly a criminal defense attorney if charges are filed against you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sara
      Thu, 10 Mar 2011 at 01:25

      I have been charged with 2 misdemeanors and 1 felony charge for shoplifting. The friend I was with was charged with 2 felonies and 1 misdemeanor.. BEFORE the officer read me my rights he took my phone and read through my text messages. There were texts between my friend and i about the shoplifting taking place that day and PREVIOUS days.
      –In the state of VA–
      Was he allowed to go through my phone? and will it be used against me in court to hold more charges against me?
      Dear Sara: When the police are investigating a crime they have the authority to collect evidence, with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances. That includes messages on a cell phone. The messages may be evidence that support the shoplifting incident as you described. If you’re going to court on this you’ll have a chance to speak with a public defender or you can retain your own lawyer to discuss this with. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Alex
      Tue, 15 Mar 2011 at 12:43

      Me and two friends got caught pulling a sign out of the ground. The officer pulled us each away separately and got our stories. When he talked to me the second time he said the gig is up, my friend told him the truth. If I lie to him again I will go to Juvenile detention center, but I lied to him until he finally said something about the sign. I then had to ride home with him, where he woke my step-dad up and dropped me off. Since he didn’t give me a ticket there, does that mean I am not getting one? He got my Name, DOB, and address.
      Dear Alex: You may have gotten lucky this time. Since you didn’t get a ticket or any kind of notice to appear in court, this may be the end to it. But, there’s still a chance you may receive a notice in the mail about a court date. The state has up to a year to formally file charges if they decide to. Staying out of trouble will keep you out of court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • David
      Tue, 15 Mar 2011 at 07:06

      i recently got my phone confiscated at school. my phone was given to my po, which she went thru. now shes trying to violation me, because i’m texting friends about smoking weed in there. is this legal what shes doing?
      Dear David: Probation officers in most states have the authority to conduct searches involving their probationers. That includes your car, home, room if you live with your parents or a roommate, etc. Since cell phones can contain evidence of criminal activity, they can ask to see your phone, computer, etc. If you’re on probation for a drug offense, their responsibility is to see that you follow all terms of probation – the first of which is to follow the law and not break it. That’s why they can tell you to submit to a random drug test. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Andrew
      Sun, 20 Mar 2011 at 08:50

      I recently got ticketed in Oregon after running my car onto a sidewalk. I got reckless driving and failure to perform duties of a driver. After the accident, I waited at my car for a few minutes and when nobody came I called a cab and went home. That was admittedly a stupid move, but I was dazed, tired and wanted to sleep. The next day, the police told me I should’ve called them immediately to alert them of the accident, and not knowing how to respond, I told them my cell phone was dead. My question is, can they obtain my cell phone records to prove/disprove this for court?
      Dear Andrew: The police could obtain your cell phone records but probably won’t unless you go to trial on these charges. If you admit what happened, there’s no need for them to check the records to show your phone was working. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Ryan
      Sun, 20 Mar 2011 at 10:39

      The cops took my phone because I was video taping te aftermath of a fight & called if a peice of s… & its all on camera he didnt know was recording is that legal?
      Dear Ryan: When the police are investigating a crime, they have the authority to collect evidence in support of the incident. So, yes, they can take your phone and keep it until the case is closed. Let them know you want it back and they’ll notify you when it’s no longer needed in the case. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • connor d
      Mon, 21 Mar 2011 at 10:18

      I just got arrested for vandelism and the police took my phone as evidence even though I convinced to both crimes that were committed. I have other pictures on my phone of pot and me smoking pot on my phone a little after the pictures of the graffiti I did. I was already put in jail for a night and signed all my papers on wat my charges were. Can they give me another charge for possession of pot or search my house or drug test me? Please help my court date is very soon and I’m very scared cause I just turned 18 and I don’t want to go to jail again
      Dear Connor: The police would need more than just a photo of you smoking to prove the substance was illegal. With the technological ability to alter photographs, what you see in a picture isn’t always reality. A photo could be a lead in a case, but standing alone would not be sufficient to convict anyone of a crime. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • connor d
      Mon, 21 Mar 2011 at 02:35

      Thank you so much judge after reading that and meeting with my attorney I feel so much better (sorry if I sent a message like this twice I’m sending it from a phone and it said it didn’t sen) but thank you again
      You’re welcome.

    • JaneDoe
      Mon, 21 Mar 2011 at 05:06

      Could they check my texts with an court order in the state of florida with an At&t phone? It would be used in a custody battle to ensure I had nothing to hide and my testimony would be 100% good judgement. AKA im not a drugy
      Dear Jane: With a court order such as a search warrant, yes your cell phone and cell phone records can be searched. If there is a legal reason that protects certain text messages, your lawyer will raise those in an attempt to keep them out of court. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • deone
      Mon, 21 Mar 2011 at 11:47

      hi,I was texting someone that contacted me and sent a nude pic to them.They presented themselves as over 20 and they are not, i didnt know and i get a call from the parent im in a different state now and live in another one.i stopped all contact, what about the rights of the person who is lied too? the parent said they were going to call the police. but the text clearly state they reach out to me, and the truth of the matter. Can i be charged even in a different state in this situation?
      Dear Deone: It is possible that you could be charged with “sexting” depending on the laws of the states involved. Some states have specific laws regarding this activity. Google the name of your state and “sexting” for details that might apply to you. Think twice before doing this again. Teens have been charged with child pornography, distribution of obscene materials, sexual exploitation, etc. for sending nude or partially nude photos online or by cell phone. Not to mention, once you send a photo, you can’t take it back. It’s out there for the rest of your life and can come back to bite you later. Take a look at this recent story as an example of how things can backfire on you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • brit
      Sat, 26 Mar 2011 at 06:37

      my bf is 15 and i am 17. my mom caught us sending naked pics to each other and made us both delete them from our phones and made us break up. a few days later, he had to go to court because he was supposed to be doing online school but i guess he hadn’t been keeping up so he got in trouble for truancy. the court took his phone for some reason and checked it and he forgot to delete one of the sext pictures so now he’s in trouble for that too. he said they told him that we are not allowed to see each other and if we do and are caught together, he will go to juvenile detention until he is 21 and I will have charges filed against me as well. he says we can still talk but can’t post that we are “in a relationship” with each other on our facebooks and that they are going to monitor his facebook wall…but he says just his wall so we can still send messages and ims…but my mom says that they can check those too so we shouldn’t even talk to each other in any manner. is that true? and can i still get in trouble for the sexting? no one has contacted me or my mom about it and this all went down last week. but i am scared. my mom said the cops can still get the pics even if they were deleted. is this true? can my mom find out exactly what the court told him? she doesn’t believe what he is telling me they said.
      Dear Brit: It’s possible that your boyfriend’s probation officer could check his Facebook messages and IMs if the P.O. either asks for his password or asks for your boyfriend to login and show him his account. However, the P.O. may just monitor his Facebook use by checking his wall and not do anything more unless he/she becomes suspicious. Depending on the specific laws in your state, you can still get in trouble for sexting. For more about sexting laws, click here. It sounds like the police would not need the deleted photos since your boyfriend forgot to delete the one photo that they already have. Technically, it’s possible to retrieve deleted messages, but it’s a matter of time and whether the police department has the resources to do so. It sounds like you probably got lucky this time based on what they told your boyfriend, but realize that you could be charged and once you turn 18, you don’t want to risk having nude or semi-nude photos of a minor in your phone or sending them to a minor. Your mom could try contacting your boyfriend’s P.O. for more information and to find out exactly what is forbidden since they haven’t communicated with you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jospehina
      Fri, 01 Apr 2011 at 11:59

      My freinds husband is a detective and he makes comments about things on her phone messages that her and i talk about. Can he have access to look through her phone whenever he wants? is this possible? is it illegal? how can she tell if this is whats really going on cause she feels violated especially when she doesnt do anything bad
      Dear Jospehina: Whether an illegal “search” has occurred when looking through someone’s phone is a question only when law enforcement is involved. In other words, when the police take your phone and look through it. Your friend may want to consider sitting down with her husband and calmly talking about how she feels and being able to trust one another. If necessary, they also could look into couple’s counseling. Best of luck to your friend.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jospehina
      Fri, 01 Apr 2011 at 01:28

      I guess what im trying to ask is can he have access and check her msgs from a site at his dept?
      That’s more of a technical matter depending on service provider, the type of accounts they have, whether a joint account, etc. There may also be rules at his place of employment regarding the use of department equipment for personal reasons.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Frank
      Sat, 02 Apr 2011 at 01:24

      Last week a friend of mine sent me a picture of a nude girl from school, i texted him back saying i didnt want anything to with this. It was late and forgot to delete it. The next day the cop came and took my phone read what i texted him. I also had messages about smoking weed with friends. He said they’re going to hold my phone for at least a month to make sure they delete it completely. I want to know if they i can charged with anything because of the messages and if they can hold it for that long?
      Dear Frank: They may be holding onto your phone as possible evidence or while they continue to investigate any possible criminal activity. Assuming the girl from school is underage, it is possible to be charged with some sort of sexting offense, but it depends on the laws of your state as some states have enacted laws that only target those who send or forward the photos. For more on sexting laws, click here. As for the texts about smoking weed, although it’s possible for you to be charged with a drug offense, usually the police need more evidence than a text message. Finally, you could try talking to your parents about the situation and ask to speak with the detective or a supervisor at the police department about why they’re holding onto your phone. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Frank
      Sat, 02 Apr 2011 at 04:29

      Well the security from my school said since i didn’t actually send/forward the picture but received it, I wouldn’t be charged. I’m not sure about the weed texts though, i mean its irrelevant from the case, so they can’t really do anything right? And if my mom asks or demands for the phone could we get it back?
      Dear Frank: Again, it’s always possible to be charged with a crime when the police and prosecutor believe that someone has committed an offense. In your situation, the police may have suspicion based on your texts. However, the police usually need more evidence to charge a person with possession/use of marijuana, etc. If your mom contacts the police department and asks for your phone back, they may be agreeable to such a requrest and be willing to return your phone.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jordan
      Mon, 04 Apr 2011 at 12:56

      I was recently arrested and charged with assault and long story short, the guy I hit got my phone and brought it to the police. I got lucky and they messed up my paperwork so I’m getting off without any charges, and am required to do 40 hours of community service. The incident happened over two months ago (mid January) and I just recently (last week) got all this settled and am waiting for the community service paperwork. I called the police officer who arrested me last week and left him a message, but he has not called me back. I live in San Francisco, CA and was wondering if there’s a chance of getting my phone back, and what my best course of action would be.
      Thank you, Jordan
      Dear Jordan: You have taken the correct steps in trying to get your phone back. If the police have an open or ongoing investigation, they can keep evidence until the case is closed. Keep trying to speak with the officer involved or his supervisor to see what the department’s policy is about return of property. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Justin
      Fri, 08 Apr 2011 at 03:20

      I was pulled over for suspicious activity when I was picking a hitch hiker up. I had a gun in the back of my car that was in its case unloading out of reach. I also had $2800 cash on me. The cops went threw my txt and there were txt talking about druqs from wweeks prior to this incedent,the day I got pulled over I was actually on my way to buy a 4 wheeler. I wasnt doing anything illegal that day but they still seized my money and phone. There were txt on it proving what I was doing with the money, there wasnt any txt on there saying im taking this money to buy drugs. they took me to jail for having a hand gun without a permit and thats the only charge I got. I have a trial date to get my money back. when I go to trial can they bring them txt up and charge me with another charge even if its all circumstantial evidence, they also think I deal drugs because some of the txt people are askig for weed but that was weeks before I was pulled over, I wasnt even doing anything illegal the day i was pulled over.
      Dear Justin: When the police are investigating criminal activity they can conduct searches and keep property until the case is completed. In some cases, such as drug investigations, the property can be confiscated. The fact that some of your text messages are days or weeks old doesn’t decrease their importance or weaken the content as evidence in a case against you. That is an argument your lawyer can make if formal charges are filed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • stephanie
      Fri, 08 Apr 2011 at 07:19

      Just yesterday I got into an accidenent in the school parking lot. A bus driver wasn’t paying attention to see how much room she had to go around me. S she scraped the back end of my car. She told the police I was using my phone at the time of the incident ( but I wasn’t) so my mom checked the times I had been texting during the day and none of them were around the time of the accident. The police said they would check my phone at the station. Can they do that without a warrant or my permission?
      Dear Stephanie: When a criminal investigation is underway, the police can conduct searches with or without a warrant depending on the circumstances. If you receive a ticket or are charged with an offense, talk with your parents and lawyer about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • madeline (CA)
      Sat, 09 Apr 2011 at 01:02

      My dad is a police officer and he was suspicious of me doing something that he didn’t approve so he asked the investigator to bring up all of text messages between myself and my boyfriend. Can he get in trouble for that? Isn’t it invasion of privacy?
      Dear Madeline: Because he’s your dad and if you’re still a minor, he can check your text messages and it’s not an illegal invasion of your privacy. Whether he accessed the investigator through his work for personal reasons and possibly violated his employment policy, is a different issue. Perhaps, you could try sitting down with your dad and calmly talking about how you feel and see if you can reach an agreement about information you’re willing to share with him while he gives you a little privacy. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jordan
      Sun, 10 Apr 2011 at 10:26

      I was recently arrested and charged with assault and long story short, the guy I hit got my phone and brought it to the police. I got lucky and they messed up my paperwork so I’m getting off without any charges, and am required to do 40 hours of community service. The incident happened over two months ago (mid January) and I just recently (last week) got all this settled and am waiting for the community service paperwork. I called the police officer who arrested me last week and left him a message, but he has not called me back. I live in San Francisco, CA and was wondering if there’s a chance of getting my phone back, and what my best course of action would be.
      Thank you, Jordan
      Dear Jordan: You have taken the correct steps in trying to get your phone back. If the police have an open or ongoing investigation, they can keep evidence until the case is closed. Keep trying to speak with the officer involved or his supervisor to see what the department’s policy is about return of property. Good luck.

      So I never got a callback after I left him the first message (April 4), and I just called him again today (April 10) leaving him another message. If I don’t get a reply back by this Friday I plan on going in to the office and seeing if I can speak with him or his supervisor directly. I haven’t called the supervisor there yet but I plan on doing so tomorrow and hopefully that starts the process or something..

      Suggestions and comments welcome.

      Thank you,
      Jordan
      Dear Jordan: You’re on the right track. Persistence will pay off – be polite and not demanding and you’ll get further. All the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • ANgel
      Thu, 14 Apr 2011 at 06:16

      Can a police offer get a transcript of students text messages that are suspects in a prank at the school?
      Dear Angel: When the police are investigating criminal activity, they have the authority to collect evidence with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstanxces. So, yes, if they have reason to believe that a cell phone contains text messages that could be used as evidence in their case, they can search and make copies of the messages. If you or a friend are charged with a crime, discuss this with your lawyer/public defender. He or she will advise you about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jake
      Fri, 22 Apr 2011 at 11:12

      Theoretically, If police seized my phone after it was stolen (at a crime scene), if this theoretical phone contains music that was less than legitimately acquired (downloaded) can (and is it likely) that it will be followed up (with pirating music charges) in concert with the original investigation?
      Dear Jake: Generally, it would be unlikely that the police would begin investigating a person for illegally downloading music when that person’s phone was stolen and they were originally the victim of a crime. First, whether the police can go through the person’s phone at all depends on the specific laws of that state. Also, many police departments do not have the time or resources to begin investigations of victims for crimes unrelated to the original offense (in this case, the original offense being the theft of the cell phone). That being said, if somehow the police discover the illegally downloaded music, they certainly could look further into and begin an investigation. For more about file sharing and downloading music, click here.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Amanda
      Wed, 27 Apr 2011 at 12:26

      My friend got her camera tookin away and one of this princable’s searched through it and deleated all the photos/videos. Is that illegal? I wanna know. There video taping us. Every day at lunch and geting people to watch us and take notes? And the lady said were all bad kids and she dosnt know us. Just because two girls at our lunch table did drugs. She printed out all the photos and put it on her wall, uploaded it to her computer & more. Is any of that illegal? please reply back fast.
      Dear Amanda: Take a look at your Student Handbook and you should find what is called an “Acceptable Use Policy” (AUP). Most schools have an AUP regarding the use and possession of cellphones, laptops, etc. on campus. It spells out the consequences of breaking the rules including taking the cellphone for a period of time. If a school official has “reasonable suspicion” that a school rule or law is being broken, they may have the authority to search your phone. It depends on the laws in your state and school district policies. If your school has a resource officer, who is usually a police officer, he or she has additional authority to investigate criminal activity and collect evidence. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • arturo
      Sun, 01 May 2011 at 07:55

      Im 17 & i got caught texting during a class , the principle took my phone and saw that i had marijuana related textes so he checked me and my locker but found nothing but he drug tested me and it came out negative so i got suspended , and now i got a call saying i was a drug dealer because of my textes i got to admit i did have some messages saying if they wanna buy marijuana just that though , how much trouble can i get into if they report it even though they never caught me with drugs just text messages ?
      Dear Arturo: Your messages alone wouldn’t necessarily result in criminal charges. The police would need additional evidence to support possession, transportation or sales of illegal drugs. They may continue to investigate this, however. As you probably know, marijuana stays in your system for about a month. So make sure you’re clean the next time you’re required to submit to a drug test. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Interested
      Wed, 04 May 2011 at 10:54

      If you go to trial in the state of new york how far back can the state Subpoena phone records and what exactly are they able to obtain? Texts, calls, etc.?
      Dear Interested: That depends on the New York laws that apply to the case and the availability of the records. Usually, if the state can show probable cause that the records are evidence of criminal activity or a piece of the puzzle in gathering evidence of a crime, a court will issue a search and seizure warrant for the records or a subpoena will be served on the phone company or carrier. There may not be a limitation on what records are produced. If you find yourself facing charges where this is an issue, discuss it with your lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • cheri
      Fri, 06 May 2011 at 07:53

      can a person go to the police dept. and get a warrant with out prof to go threw old texted messages. do you happen to know how long cell phone companies keep old text messages? thanks, cheri
      Dear Cheri: Search warrants aren’t available to the general public. They are issued by courts at the request of law enforcement agencies. As far as recordkeeping and text messages, it’s up to the service provider how long they hold on to old communications. You can contact the company and ask or check their website for information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Cameron
      Sat, 07 May 2011 at 04:38

      i recently got arrested with a friend and my friend had evidence on his phone, where i did not. The officer took my phone away and said they would confiscate it for evidence. there is no evidence but the police refuse to return it. is this legal?
      Dear Cameron: When the police have a case under investigation, they are authorized under the law to collect evidence and keep it until the case is resolved one way or another. That could mean months or years depending on the investigation and crimes involved. Contact the police every month or so and ask about its return, but be patient. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lucas Millar
      Sat, 07 May 2011 at 05:51

      One of my friends got her phone stolen and while it was stolen nude pics of her were sent out to another person are the police capable of finding the address at which the message was sent from or recievdd from?
      Dear Lucas: It is possible that, with enough identifying information about the phone, the police could trace it through the service provider. Whether they would or not is another thing. Law enforcement resources are limited and a theft or burglary isn’t high in their priorities. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Chris
      Fri, 13 May 2011 at 09:28

      Hi, i work in the uk and as a Teaching Assistant, i have been texting a student in school, nothing fishy, and there could be some comeback on me if they can trace my text messages, because they say i shouldnt have texted the student. How long can the police or local authority trace text mesages back to? Im with Tmobile.
      Dear Chris: When the police are investigating criminal activity they have the authority to collect evidence from all possible sources. So, in this case, they can, with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances, obtain the records from the service provider (TMobile, etc). Companies have their own policies about how long they store their records. You’d have to contact TMobile to see what they do about past communications. Their policy may be on their website. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Michelle
      Thu, 19 May 2011 at 09:04

      Last week I was with my boyfriend and two narcotic cops pulled us over. They told us to get out of the car and asked for our ID’s. They asked why it smelled like marijuana and we told them that it didnt (which it really didnt) One cop came over and searched the pockets of my jeans (which i am a female and he was a male cop is he allowed to even do that?) and then took us to the back of the car where he told us to sit on the bumper while they searched the entire car. They took out the backseats and searched the car for an hour and a half in which they even called for another cop car to come and “sniff it out”. They told us that it smells like there were pounds of weed in the car and that they were going to find it. My purse was in the car and they searched my entire back, even my cell phone, without my consent. (are the allowed to do that?) Once we asked them what precinct they were from they just told us Narcotics and wouldnt tell us from which precinct. Once we asked that they both put their badges under their jackets but me and my boyfriend had already seen their badge numbers. Did they break any of the laws thats why they wouldnt tell us where they were from and tried to hide their badge numbers from us?
      Dear Michelle: There are rules, court decisions and statutes regarding lawful searches by law enforcement. What you describe may be worth discussing with a criminal defense or civil rights attorney. That is your decision. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teenagers. AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teens and the laws that affect them. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jordan
      Fri, 20 May 2011 at 04:02

      I was recently arrested and charged with assault and long story short, the guy I hit got my phone and brought it to the police. I got lucky and they messed up my paperwork so I’m getting off without any charges, and am required to do 40 hours of community service. The incident happened over two months ago (mid January) and I just recently (last week) got all this settled and am waiting for the community service paperwork. I called the police officer who arrested me last week and left him a message, but he has not called me back. I live in San Francisco, CA and was wondering if there’s a chance of getting my phone back, and what my best course of action would be.
      Thank you, Jordan
      Dear Jordan: You have taken the correct steps in trying to get your phone back. If the police have an open or ongoing investigation, they can keep evidence until the case is closed. Keep trying to speak with the officer involved or his supervisor to see what the department’s policy is about return of property. Good luck.

      So I never got a callback after I left him the first message (April 4), and I just called him again today (April 10) leaving him another message. If I don’t get a reply back by this Friday I plan on going in to the office and seeing if I can speak with him or his supervisor directly. I haven’t called the supervisor there yet but I plan on doing so tomorrow and hopefully that starts the process or something..
      Suggestions and comments welcome.
      Thank you,
      Jordan
      Dear Jordan: You’re on the right track. Persistence will pay off – be polite and not demanding and you’ll get further. All the best.

      .. So I got an officer my case number and he told me once another officer signs off on a release authorization I can go in and pick it up.. But that was well over a month ago. I called in again last week and got not call back. I honestly have no idea what to do now.
      Dear Jordan: Continue attempting to contact an officer/supervisor who can give you an answer. Explain how much time has passed and whether you have completed your community service. You could try going into the police station to talk with someone in person. You might be more likely to get some results this way. Chances are that if they hear from you enough, they’re going to want to resolve the matter concerning your property. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Ismael
      Fri, 20 May 2011 at 08:29

      Hi I live with my girl friend. She happenns to own a cell phone. Im on felony probation, and happen to get check alot. The last time they came they looked through the phone even though I told them It was hers they were looking through yhe contacts,pictures,videos txts,etc…..is that leagle? If not what can I do about it or what can I do so it won’t happen again
      Dear Ismael: First you may want to talk to your P.O., explain that the cell phone is not yours and that you believe the search violated her rights since she is not on probation. You could then ask to speak with your P.O.’s supervisor. Finally, you could talk with your attorney or a local criminal attorney to further discuss the situation based on the laws in your state. You may want to review the terms of your probation to clarify what they can and cannot search when they come to your home. Generally, but depending on the laws of each state, a P.O. can search the probationer’s personal property, room, etc. and common areas such as the kitchen and living room of the house. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • JAMIE
      Thu, 26 May 2011 at 04:17

      i live in the State of Florida and My boyfriend was arrested for loitering And possesion of burglary tools,
      The cop did not have a search warrant, and when he was at 24 hour court they declared “no probable cause”, can his phone still be used against him in state court?
      Dear Jamie: It’s going to depend on your state’s laws as well as the specific facts and circumstances that lead to the search of his cell phone. If the police had a legal and justifiable reason to look through his phone, the evidence found in his phone may be used against him. Some states require probable cause to look through a cell phone, but this is a new area of the law, so there haven’t been many court decisions on the issue at this time. Also, even if a warrant or probable cause is required, there are several exceptions to the warrant requirement including consent, exigent circumstances and plain view. If charges end up being filed and your boyfriend believes his rights were violated, he should speak with a local criminal attorney who could answer his questions and provide advice based on the specific laws of your state. Good luck to you and your boyfriend.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Matthew
      Tue, 31 May 2011 at 02:36

      I was picked up at work because a detective wanted to speak to me about a burglary, and during questioning he asked if he could see my phone and go through it, i of course said okay because the date of the alleged crime was before i had even got the phone. well he goes through my phone and arrests me on the charge of receiving stolen property. now once i was released from jail my phone wasn’t in the property bag. i will consult my lawyer about it tomorrow but why do you think it wasn’t in the property bag? can i get my phone back?
      Dear Matthew: If the police believe your phone is stolen property, then they will hold onto it as “evidence” while your case is pending. Usually, the police release any nonevidential property, but keep any property they believe is evidence. You could always ask for it back and see what they say or file a motion in court for the return of your property, but talk to your attorney about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • ali
      Wed, 08 Jun 2011 at 01:35

      My best friend’s boyfriend is being investigated for rape so they took his phone off him, I’ve been texting him a bit as well because we are friends, I’m a bit concerned that they might contact me about him. Are they allowed to ring me or make any contact with me about this guy?
      Dear Ali: When the police are investigating a crime, they have broad authority to speak with all potential witnesses as well as victims. So, yes, they may contact you about the rape incident. Tell the truth and don’t lie about anything. Lying to a police officer is a crime in most states. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rich
      Sun, 12 Jun 2011 at 12:13

      Dear Tom,
      —i live in California—
      theoretically, the other day i was arrested with 30+ grams of weed and a scale with one little weed baggie. when i went down to the police station they took my phone and read my texts without my consent which ive been reading and i guess its legal now here in cali. i had texts such as… “i cant scale it at skool man”…..”you need that sack today”….”how much you want to buy”… texts of that nature. i am positive that the police wrote down some of those texts as they laughed in my face saying..”oh, look another good one to write down”. the problem and what i am immensely scared about is if they try to bring those up in court, because i was only arrested and it says on the ticket misdemeanor for possession of more than an oz 28.5grams of marijuana. would they try and go after me and say that i was selling if i pleaded not guilty? i can deny all the texts because they were all jokes, me and my friends always joke and pretend like we are dealers because we think its funny. besides arent all the texts just circumstantial evidence and cannot be proved unless someone testified that they bought from me which wouldn’t happen since who would want to get themselves in trouble. so the real problem is if they try and get me for selling. im am very scared and nervous for this court case because i am 16 and this is my first time being in trouble with the police. i feel that i have messed up big time and now know the severity of messing with drugs and, for that, now i am done with marijuana forever i want to start a new chapter for my life. i want a job, and that cannot really happen if i am convicted for selling. sooooooo, the question is, do you think the police will bring up the texts about selling even if the ticket is just about me having more than an ounce of marijuana? im in a very sticky situation because if i plead not guilty, i am going to snitch on my friend who bought the oz with me, and the police might try and get me for selling (if i do this then i would have in my possession 26grams of weed since mt friend and i split the weed i will have under an oz in my possession which would make it an infraction, not a misdemeanor, thus leading to at max a $100 fine with under 50hours of community service). while on the other hand, if i plead no contest, i will be facing $500+ fine and 100+hour community service but i will probably not be went after for intent to sell. i have the feeling if i plead not guilty they will come after me full force and try to get me in as much trouble as possible. TOM I NEED YOUR WORDS OF WISDOM IN THIS TERRIBLE TIME.
      p.s. i didnt mean to double post my computer is being weird sorry tom.
      Dear Rich: We can’t tell you how to plead since we don’t provide legal advice to anyone – adult or teenager. When you go to court, a probation or court officer will explain the legal process to you. If you decide to plead not guilty, a public defender may be appointed to represent you. Then you can explain everything to him or her and they’ll be able to advise you based on the police reports regarding this incident. As a consequence, if you plead guilty or are found guilty by the court after a trial, you may be sentenced to a probation period, time in detention/jail, drug counseling and/or testing, etc. It’s up to the court and based, in part, on your record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • kenny
      Mon, 20 Jun 2011 at 08:00

      my friend and i was pulled over, for a head light out the officer made me give him my id then found i had a warrent, while driving me to the jail the officer was texting while driving.is that not breaking the law. i live in oklahoma
      Dear Kenny: Your state legislature has been considering several bills introduced during the past year about texting while driving. Attached here are two short articles on the subject. It seems, so far, a law that applies to all drivers hasn’t been signed by the governor yet. But the effort continues. You would think a police officer, a community role model, would know better than to engage in this behavior.
      http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2011/01/21/181415.htm
      http://www.newson6.com/story/14278618/oklahoma-house-kills-texting-while-driving-ban-debate-not-over?redirected=true
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • nathan
      Sun, 10 Jul 2011 at 06:11

      hello i got taken back from a strip search and they took my phone because they had intelgence that i was drug drug dealing but i think there was text saying who wants sniff whitch is cocaine is that enuff evidence to get me done for intent to supply
      Dear Nathan: It may be enough along with additional evidence the police have against you. They will submit their report to the prosecutor who will decide if there’s sufficient evidence to charge you with a crime. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • aaron crouse
      Sun, 10 Jul 2011 at 11:23

      first i dont care about what you learn towards on all rights, remmber you still ahve go by the law or disbar. now then i amwhite and transsexual in wv and my roommate is black he domestically emotional abusing and my complex knows but says when he lease is down he gone in a month. problem is i am stuck apartment, the police said they are supposed to for free switch me but they say they cant no space i know people here theirs open space i just want him out i dont wanna sue he violated his lease illegal roommates,parties all time, f mess that health department wouldnt approve and drugs. lease says no drugs regardless of law. he acts like he owns the place. for instance he was in hurry to do laundry um he doesnt wash his clothes he stinks so why is doing laundry he took my clothes which were wet and made it sound it was his apartment he couldve went to laundry mat or washed it earlier i know he did to f with me and other roommate to establish dominace. he doesnt like whites his friends dont when their over and there there everyday, they stare at like i shouldnt be there he expleciaty said he wasnt raised to except this but when his family was over and a relative who was a preacher excepted me with open arms regardless of being transsexual or white, he has several girlfriends with babies child support. he deals i see it but cops cant do nothing and the complex knows he deals. i have emotional problems so i use to have panic disorder well it came back i got in 4 day period two fake diseases but my body created them there real but not really the disease its not hypchondria these panic attacks wee a couple overlapping same sympotoms, my bipolar is out control with this stress i am disabled this abusing a disabled person. any help. now i am not a raceist i just wont put up with drugs,abuse,raceism etc
      Dear Aaron: You may have to wait out the period of the lease unless you decide to break it and pay the consequences. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teenagers. AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teens and the laws that affect them. You can speak with a local lawyer who practices landlord-tenant law and obtain advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • todd
      Sun, 17 Jul 2011 at 09:53

      in the state of washington a student was texting in class the teacher took her cell phone, while it was on her desk a text came in and the teacher read it then took it to the superentendant and both parties as well as her parents were called in to the office . nothing bad was in the text but they were upset because she was text at school. what is the policy and is this invasion of privacy
      Dear Todd: Every state and school district have their own rules & laws about electronic devices at school. Check the Student Handbook for the rules at this student’s school. There should be a section called “Acceptable Use Policy” or the like regarding computers, cellphones, smartphones, etc. on campus. Students do have rights at school including limited privacy rights. This is a new and developing area of the law that schools across the nation are just recently dealing with. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • kirsty
      Wed, 20 Jul 2011 at 12:07

      if you get arrested for possession and intent to supply class a and class b, and get released without charge. how long can they hold your phone for? it has no evidence on it. they said i would have it back in 2 or 3 weeks it has now been eight.
      Dear Kirsty: The police can keep evidence gathered in the course of an investigation as long as the case remains open. Every state has what is called a “statute of limitations” on criminal offenses. This is the period during which formal charges must be filed. Once the time runs out, charges cannot be filed. For example, a shoplifting incident may have a 1 or 2 year limitation for filing. Some crimes like murder or treason have no statutory limitation – they can be filed at anytime. So, keep asking for the phone’s return and for an explanation about why it’s being held. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • sean
      Fri, 22 Jul 2011 at 04:52

      I live in Tennessee and I have a situation where I had a mutually beneficial relationship with a woman who needed help financially from time to time and in return, she would provide certain services. This particular woman was arrested for identity theft, but here’s my dilema; her roommate who I did not know existed posed as her by using her cellphone to text me and setup our usual arrangment. Can those text messages be used against me for solicitation even though she’s in jail for a completely different offense.
      Dear Sean: Assuming you are referring to prostitution, you would have to look to the specific language of Tennessee’s solicitation & prostitution laws. If the police are involved, they have the authority, as you know, to collect evidence of criminal activity. Text messages may be evidence and, as such, can be obtained with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances. If you end up being charged with a crime, discuss this with your lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jared
      Sun, 24 Jul 2011 at 01:40

      I was just wondering if a police officer or any form of law enforcement can search or have access to phone records (texting) and if they are allowed to search past items, for present situations; situations in which no actual charges were filed. (This question is not about drugs or any form of illegal activity)
      Dear Jared: It’s going to depend on the circumstances which resulted in the police having possession/access to a person’s phone (was the person arrested, etc.) as well as the laws of that state. Usually, the police need some level of suspicion – either reasonable suspicion or even a higher level called “probable cause” before they can search a person’s cell phone. In some cases, they may need a warrant. Once they have a warrant or the required level of suspicion, then they can search the cell including old texts, etc.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sam
      Tue, 02 Aug 2011 at 09:39

      I wasn’t even arrested. This cop brought my boyfriend and I into the station and just called our parents to have them come and pick us up. We were at a park and one of the swings was broken, and apparently being mexican is good enough of an excuse to point fingers. (it’s a small town, lots of gang activity.) He went through my cell-phone, and tried to figure out an angle to press sexual-misconduct charges on me from reading the texts I sent concerning an honors level summer reading assignment. Is that in any way legal?
      Dear Sam: Without knowing every detail of the incident, we can’t tell you if the cell phone search was legal or not. AsktheJudge.info does not provide legal advice to adults or teenagers. However, we can tell you that when police are investigating an incident, they are authorized to collect evidence. Text messages on phones may be evidence. Whether you are involved with the police or not, always be careful of what you post online or by phone. Remember, once you send something, it’s out there forever. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • John
      Thu, 04 Aug 2011 at 12:59

      Hi, got a important question. My friend used to sell but stopped a old gf says she reported him to the cops with proof of txt messages where it states that he was selling and offering people.shes telling him that the cops are on the hunt for him. can the cops take any action in this, she is trynig to set him up is there any legal action against him? (by the way she bought from him too and he has text from her where she is asking him for some). he lives in Texas help him out, thanks
      Dear John: If she reported this to the police and they’re conducting an investigation, they have the authority to collect evidence. That includes text messages. If your friend is charged with a crime, he can discuss the case with a lawyer who will know how to deal with the legal issues regarding admissible and nonadmissible evidence.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dwayne
      Sat, 06 Aug 2011 at 11:48

      My sisters apt was raided at the time me and my girlfriend were in the house. During the raid they asked us for our id’s. Later we see while the raid was going on one of the officers requested my girlfriend on facebook during the raid. Also he sent her 3 messeges which she ignored. One messege even stating he was 1 of the officers from the morning raid “the light skin one” as he put it. Is this legal? And can she sue for Harrasment?
      Dear Dwayne: Although she has the right to file a lawsuit, that does not mean that she would prevail in court. However, she may consider making a formal complaint with the police department and the police officer’s supervisor so that there is a written record concerning his conduct. The officer may not have violated a law, but his conduct certainly wasn’t professional and most likely violated the ethical rules of his employment.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • james the vampire
      Wed, 10 Aug 2011 at 01:11

      RT @TopsyRT: Can a police officer read my text messages? http://t.co/vO0D58V

    • Askthejudge.info
      Wed, 10 Aug 2011 at 06:04

      RT @BvBcRaZy5322 Can a police officer read my text messages? http://t.co/FJcrKUC

    • jacob
      Thu, 18 Aug 2011 at 09:21

      The police took a mobile phone off me and said they are going to look through it. They have done it to my friends before and then produced 100′s of pages of information – every single text and call ever sent and received from the phone. Do they get this information from the phone itself or from the SIM card?
      Dear Jacob: When the police are investigating a crime, they have broad authority to collect evidence. That includes cell phones, lap tops, tablets, etc. With or without a search warrant, depending on the circumstances, they can search electronic devices and any cards, memory sticks, etc. that contains information. Keep that in mind when communicating in the digital world. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • yana
      Sun, 21 Aug 2011 at 01:38

      my husband took my phone from me, he gave it to our church paster and they downloaded a program to read ALL of my messages, and look at ALL of my pics that were privite, now he is showing every thing to every one!!!! please help me !!! what should i do??? he did all of this with out me and now theyre ruining my life!!!!
      Dear Yana: AsktheJudge.info is a teen law website where we answer teens’ questions about their rights and the laws that affect them. Although your husband may have invaded your privacy, it’s not necessarily a criminal matter. You could have a civil claim against him, but it would be best to try to sit down and calmly talk with him about the situation so you can express yourself and hopefully put an end to your texts and pics going public. Perhaps you could try seeing a couples counselor who could help you work through this issue together. Finally, if you are interested in filing a civil claim against your husband, then you need to contact a local attorney who handles domestic matters or matters in small claims court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • erica santos
      Mon, 22 Aug 2011 at 09:25

      i just started going out with a custom officer in ny and he told me he could go through anyone’s text messages and phone numbers is this true?
      Dear Erica: We certainly don’t want to create issues in your relationships, so we’ll respond accordingly. He may have told you this as a general statement without going into specifics. Law enforcement does have the authority to conduct searches with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances. Usually in the course of fighting crime and investigating criminal activity, officers collect evidence. That evidence may include content from cell phones, computers, etc. But, under the law, officers need a valid reason (probable cause or reasonable suspicion) to conduct a search. Otherwise, without a legal basis to act, whatever they uncover may be excluded as evidence in the case. Officers know their limits and are expected to follow not only the law but their department’s policies. You have privacy rights and the ability to determine if you want to maintain them, share them or surrender them to someone else. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Michelly
      Tue, 23 Aug 2011 at 10:10

      Hi, So i was walking with a friend of mine to my house when a police pulled my friend over and they started fighting and the police found a huge bag of weed on him. Any they questioned me forever even though i did nothing wrong, They let me go and arrested my friend. I was wondering, If they will search his phone? Because he was texting me earlier about what he had on him and i still went to go hang with him. The police have all my info too.
      Dear Michelly: It is possible that the police will search his phone. In the course of investigating criminal behavior the police are authorized to collect evidence, with or without a search warrant. So, they may read his text messages and use any incriminating statements in the case against him. That doesn’t mean you’re in trouble. If you didn’t break the law then you have nothing to worry about. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • eduardo
      Mon, 29 Aug 2011 at 11:30

      some friends and i we hanging out on school property very late at night and the cops showed up so we decided to run and i left my phone. So during when we was running someone wrote on my Facebook status saying “running from the popo trapped” and a miss call was checked. We believe that it was the officer who did that. Does he have the right to do that?
      Dear Eduardo: Whether the police have the right to look in your phone and post a Facebook update is going to first depend on the laws of your state. Most states require some level of suspicion (either reasonable suspicion or probable cause) before an officer can search a person’s phone. Because the officer got into your phone, it would be considered a search. Since you were running from the police, that certainly could be considered reasonable suspicion that a crime was being committed. However, if you have not been charged with a crime, then any “illegal search” argument is somewhat irrelevant. Although you and your parents could make a formal and written complaint against the officer to the police department so there is a record of this incident that will go into his/her file. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • tasha
      Mon, 29 Aug 2011 at 09:25

      ok so i was at a home where a domestic took place, and i was sittin in the householding the baby when a cop enters the home and asked me if i knew who this guy was that assoulted my cousin, i said yes i do, and then he asked to see my phone to see if i have been texting the person they were looking for and i told him not without a search warrant he cant, so he grabs the phone from my hands and takes it and a different officer comes in a says they were taking my phone to evidence while they apply for a search warrant and if they see that i was texting this person then they would charge me with obstruction! not even 5min after they took mny phone they either were using my phone plus had my number forwarded to their phone! its been a week now and i have heard nothing!

      is that legal?
      Dear Tasha: When the police are investigating criminal activity, they have the authority to collect evidence with or without a search warrant. It depends on the circumstances whether a search is legal or not. So, if you or your friend are charged with a crime, discuss this with your lawyer. He or she will know how to deal with evidence in your case. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Susan
      Wed, 07 Sep 2011 at 05:20

      My husband passed away 5 years ago and cleaning out boxes I came across his cell phone. I was able to turn it on, at my surprise. He had a Verizon phone which showed all of his contacts and his last text messages. Is there a way I can figure out who sent the messages that were still stored in the phone?
      Dear Susan: AsktheJudge.info is an educational website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal or technical advice to teens or adults. We suggest you take the phone to a Verizon store and see if they can help you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • John
      Wed, 07 Sep 2011 at 04:33

      When the police search through text history is it specific to a certain number or can they look at all numbers texted. (this is a search not via the phone but through the phone company the phone was never confiscated or touched by police)
      Dear John: When the police have an investigation underway into criminal activity, they are authorized to collect evidence, with or without a search warrant. That includes phone company records and numbers other than the individual’s account. If you end up charged with a crime, you can discuss this with your attorney who will know how and if the collected evidence can be kept out of court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Edgar metcalf
      Wed, 07 Sep 2011 at 07:09

      So recently my phone was taken by the police as an ivestigation as part of evidence. They claim they can take records off my phone such as old txt messages. Recently they told me I would not get my phone back because it had relevance to the investigation. I was wondering why can’t I have my phone back if they already took the message records off it? And on a sidenote how far can they actually look back on the phone?
      Dear Edgar: Getting your phone back is up to the policies of the police department. They are authorized to keep any and all evidence of a crime until the case has ended. That may take years when you consider the trial and appeal process. There is no limit to how extensive their search may be – it depends on the circumstances of the case and whether a search warrant was used or not. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • tai
      Wed, 14 Sep 2011 at 06:57

      My friends got caught shoplifting at the Bloomingdale that worth about $350, and one of them ran away before the security handcuff him. After that, the police called him from the other guy phone and said he will arrest him. But it have been 3 days since the last time he got a called from the police, is it possible if my friend still fine and wont be arrested????
      Dear Tai: Anything is possible. Three days isn’t that long considering the police have other activities and investigations underway. Your friend may still hear from the police. He may not be arrested but he could receive a notice in the mail to appear in court if formal charges are filed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rebecca
      Fri, 16 Sep 2011 at 05:18

      My husband gave my stepdaughters phone to the police after finding nude photos of her on it that she sent to various boys. We do not own the cell phone, her mother and step-father do. Rather than focusing on the actions of our teen and getting her the help she needs they are focused on getting the police to do nothing, give the phone back and coming after all parties for an illegal seizure of the phone. In AZ and since a biological parent gave the phone to the police is this a possibility? Can mom claim that since the phone is hers the police had no right to look at it?
      Dear Rebecca: It will be up to the police department as to whether they will give the phone back or hold onto it as evidence and pursue charges for sexting. An illegal search or seizure claim is only relevant when a person is facing criminal charges. When a criminal defendant claims an illegal search/seizure occurred, the charges could be dismissed based on the Fourth Amendment violation. Although your stepdaughter’s mom could file a civil claim in court, it would be difficult to assess what the “damages” are and she may quickly realize that the filing fees, expense and time involved would not be worth pursuing a claim for which she could easily not prevail in court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Calvin
      Sat, 17 Sep 2011 at 12:31

      Well yesterday, the mother of my friend who’s 12 that I casually text got in trouble. Her mom found that I(A 13 year old boy)who she met off the internet was texting her. She said that she gave my number to the police. Then today, my friends brother called me at 10:20 in the morning and I picked it up. He started cursing at me and telling me to stop talking to his sister “or else [he'd] come find me because [he] know[s] how to do that.”, and I’m just wondering, could they possibly charge me with anything or look through previous texts to see if we did anything in the sort of “sexting”, “harassment”, or “threats”? Thank you.
      Dear Calvin: If your friend’s mother decides to look through all of your friend’s previous texts and believes that some of them are inappropriate (sexting, threats, harassment, cyberbullying), she could call the police and make a complaint. Charges could be filed against you and your friend if the police get involved and believe that some of the texts are illegal and break any of the laws mentioned above. Of course it will also depend on the specific sexting, etc. laws in your state. If you know you are texting inappropriate things, you should stop and think twice before sending such messages. Once a message is sent, it’s forever out there and could come back to haunt you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jake
      Sun, 18 Sep 2011 at 07:37

      My girlfriend says that one of her friends got in a car accident and the cops were able to see all of her sent text messages. Can they see the contents of the message even if they were sent the day before the accident and deleted? Would this be an invasion of privacy?
      Dear Jake: Whether the police could legally search her phone depends on the specific facts and circumstances of the case as well as the laws of your state. When there is an emergency type of situation, the police may be able to look through a person’s phone without probable cause or a warrant, but may need “reasonable suspicion” that a crime has been committed. If your friend is being charged with a crime as a result of the accident and the search of her cell phone, she may want to speak with a local attorney who can provide information based on the specific facts and laws in your state.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Matt
      Tue, 20 Sep 2011 at 12:30

      How do you sleep at night defending all of these criminals? I guess you don’t care that some of them have harmed other people (victims of domestic violence, assault, and theft etc..) You are on the wrong side of life.
      Dear Matt: We’re sorry you feel the way you do. We at AsktheJudge are not “defending” anyone. We are providing legal information to help teens understand the laws that affect them and know their rights.

    • jay
      Tue, 20 Sep 2011 at 06:15

      Your honor im 21 and live in texas. Im being charged with man/del of a cs morw then 4 grams less then 400. I dnt have any criminal history or have i been caught with anything. I recived info from a mutual friend that a girl i been talking to will report me to the police because she tjinks i did something to her friend. I might of sent her txt or fb messages saying i do sell but stopped(just impreess her).is thisd enough evidence to prosicute me with the crime? Also what kinda punishment am i looking at if im found guilty? Will that hold up in court if i hire a good defense attorny. Thanks
      Dear Jay: If you’ve been formally charged with a drug offense, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney. The court may appoint a public defender to represent you or you can hire your own private counsel. The consequences of pleading guilty or being found guilty by the court or a jury depend on the laws in your state and the circumstances of the crime. Your lawyer will also know what to do regarding the evidence the state has against you, including any text messages or other posts online. We do suggest that you be careful about what you say in cyberspace because you can’t take it back and it may be used against you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Konner
      Tue, 20 Sep 2011 at 09:01

      If i forgot my flasdrive at my school. Does my principle have the rite to look at nything on the flashdrive?
      Dear Konner: Not necessarily, but look at your school’s Student Handbook to see what it says about electronic equipment including flashdrives and whether school administrators have the right to search such items. Unless your school has a policy allowing such searches or there is reasonable suspicion to believe that you have been making real threats to other students or that a crime has occurred, the school cannot just search items like a flashdrive without reason.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tommy
      Fri, 23 Sep 2011 at 05:17

      Hello, I live U.S I was wondering if a Police have my number can they record my personal phone calls, text messages? I am not asking for criminal cases, I am a good student I do not do bad stuff. I am a skateboarder and got pulled over with a few of my friends at the public park having fun. There was a few smokers that passed by and the police thought it was us but took down our information at the same time. I am just asking due privacy.
      Dear Tommy: The police are authorized to collect evidence when a crime is under investigation. With or without a search warrant they can look into business records, phone records, etc. depending on the circumstances. Usually they need a search warrant from a court to eavesdrop or wiretap conversations. If you get charged with a crime, speak with a lawyer about your rights and any concerns you have about the evidence gathered by the police in the case. You do have privacy rights but they are not absolute. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • ian
      Fri, 23 Sep 2011 at 05:36

      hi i was wondering how long does investigations/cases usually lasts for because my friend got his car stolen, so he and i might be able to locate who it is,so if i gave the cops my friends cell number and my number is there anyway i can ask the police if they can record my phone calls, because i dont know how to do it i want to use it for evidence, because i can give random calls to people asking for information and it may link to the criminal. i left my backpack,my wallet, and my girlfriends 400 dollar ring ): i really want my stuff back. so i was wondering how long this lasts because i havent heard back from the police in long time.
      Dear Ian: Because law enforcement agencies are involved in hundreds of investigations regarding all sorts of crimes, cases are prioritized. Consequently, homicides and other violent crimes are given top billing when it comes to spending limited resources on investigations. Be patient. It may take weeks or even months before you hear anything.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jasmine
      Fri, 23 Sep 2011 at 10:00

      So if you take pictures on your phone then erase them are there ways to get them back? If so how? And what if you dont want them back ?(the photos)
      Dear Jasmine: Technically, there may be a way to retrieve photos that you later delete on a cell phone or computer. We aren’t experts in data retrieval but you could ask at any store that repairs computers or cellphones. Or ask your service provider: Verizon, AT&T, Qwest, etc.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Terry
      Sat, 24 Sep 2011 at 02:26

      After being questioned and released from the police station in California is it legal for the police to keep your social security card and ID and cell phone?
      My brother was at his friends house when the police raided it. Apparently the friend’s girlfriend was upset about a paternity suit and called the police telling them false information about outlandish things that were going on in the house. When the police raided it they expected to find drugs, guns etc… but they only found a couple of stolen goods. They took the residents of the house into custody for possession of stolen goods. I’m not really sure why they arrested my brother, I’m guessing out of suspension of being involved since he was there. He says he was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car for 8 hours and then taken into the police station to be questioned about some attempted murder crime he knew nothing about. They were talking to him as if he were a suspect then they released him, but never booked him. However his friends were booked on the charge mentioned above and have to be bailed out. They retained possession of my brother’s social security card, ID, and cell phone. They said they would use his cell phone for evidence if he were to get charged with a crime (which sounds odd to me). But what about the other two important items being his social security card, and ID that they kept as well?
      Dear Terry: When the police are investigating a crime, they have the legal authority to collect and keep evidence for indefinite periods. Once the case is closed, you can request return of any items that aren’t illegal to possess (drugs, weapons, etc). In the meantime, he may have to obtain a new ID and replacement Social Security card.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • anthony
      Sun, 25 Sep 2011 at 02:40

      Hi i was wondering if cops can record your phone calls? and if they have my number can they tap it
      Dear Anthony: Every state and the Bill of Rights talk about your right to be free from “unreasonable” searches and seizures. The 4th Amendment addresses this specifically. The police must have what is called “probable cause” to believe that a crime has been or is in the process of being committed before conducting a search of your person or property. They have the authority under the law, with or without a search warrant obtained from a judge, to collect evidence of criminal activity. So, the direct answer to your question is, yes, the police may record conversations under the right circumstances. It’s a case by case decision. If you’re charged with a crime and this becomes an issue, discuss it with your lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • angela
      Mon, 26 Sep 2011 at 12:31

      Hi I live in rochester ny in an upstairs apt. recently a pervert man has moved downstairs from me. he told me he is a nudist but he isnt. he sits on the porch naked and posts for men to have sex with him on craigslist. now strange men are coming to my house. my landlord doesnt believe me . dont know what to do. i have evidence of his ads on craigslist with the address and phone number. is it legal for him to be naked on the front porch or backyard by the time if i called cops he would put his clothes on. what is the law concerning nakedness.
      Dear Angela: We have attached a copy of some of the laws in New York for your information. If you scroll down, you’ll see some of the activities you mention. We suggest you contact the police and report your observations. They will advise you as to your rights in this situation. Good luck.
      http://wings.buffalo.edu/law/bclc/web/NewYork/ny3(b).htm
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jessica
      Tue, 27 Sep 2011 at 10:03

      Are cops able to, or can they track to see if you’ve been talking with somebody that you have a TRO with? Or is it just a “trusting you not to talk, more for your protection if they did contact you with something threating” deal?
      Dear Jessica: You’re correct in that a protective order or temporary restraining order is for the purpose of limiting contact between two people. If a person violates the court order, they may be held in contempt of court and be penalized. If the person who obtained the order reports a violation, the police may conduct an investigation that can include searching a cell phone or computer, with or without a search warrant, depending on the circumstances and laws in your state. Any court order is to be taken seriously and complied with – otherwise face the consequences of breaking the law. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Steve
      Wed, 28 Sep 2011 at 02:15

      If the police have a search warrant for my house can they search the trash can outside and the car parked in front of my house?
      Dear Steve: That’s a great question. The 4th Amendment protects us from “unreasonable” searches and seizures of property. That doesn’t mean all personal property is off limits to law enforcement. It means that the police need what is called “probable cause” that a crime has been or is in the process of being committed in order to conduct a search. There are rules governing whether the search can be done with or without a search warrant issued by a court. The courts look at the “totality of circumstances” in deciding if a search was legal or not and whether the evidence collected as a result of the search can be used against you. The general answer to your question is yes, a trash can outside can be searched as well as a car in the vicinity of your house depending on the particulars of the investigation. If you end up being charged with a crime, discuss this with your lawyer. He/she will know how to handle the search and any evidence gathered thereby. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Danny
      Fri, 30 Sep 2011 at 07:57

      a cop took my phone when arresting me for b and e. And my mom texted me where are you and the officer texted my mom back im going to jail. I know that their is no way that this can be legal. What should I do
      Dear Danny: If you are charged with these offenses, talk with your lawyer about what happened. He or she will know the laws in your state and how to defend you. Evidence in a case can be challenged and the judge decides what is admissible or inadmissible. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Renae
      Tue, 11 Oct 2011 at 07:19

      I am a grown woman and I was flirting wth my BF sexting and accidentally sent a picture to an unknown number. They called me back and told me they received it. I apologized, told them it wont happen again. Next thing I know I’m receiving a call from a Sgt in the Sherriffs department telling me that I need to call him ASAP. He called me from his private cell phone several times and left messages. I wouldn’t asnwer becuase I was scared to death and ashamed. I texted him and told him I apologize, it was a misdialed number and unintended. He texted back “not good enough, the boy was his 11 yo son”. I have children and would never intentionnally do that to a child. His voice message stated to call him immediately or he will trace my phone call and press charges becuase that was a felony crime of what I did.
      What are the laws governing this when it was unintended for it to go to this recipient? Can he trace my calls without a warrant or file charges? This is so scary and definitely not what was intended. State of TX.
      Dear Renae: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teens and the law. The answers to your questions will depend on the laws of your state. Although the act of sending nude photos to a minor could result in some sort of online solicitation of a minor law, there may be an exception or a defense for instances like yours when the act is unintentional. The officer could report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement department who may then investigate the matter and possibly charges could be filed. We suggest you contact a local criminal attorney for further information based on the laws in your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Lorrry
      Thu, 13 Oct 2011 at 12:11

      police are going to be looking into my phone on texts messages sent from ONE man and man only, they wont look at any other messages that arnt from him will they ?
      Dear Lorrry: When the police are investigating criminal activity, they are authorized to search cell phones, computers, etc. With or without a search warrant, depending on the circumstances, they can view text messages, photos and the like. It would be impossible to conduct a search without seeing everything on a phone, for example, while going through it. There’s no way to limit the extent of the search because of the nature of the phone provider’s storage system. This is something you can discuss with a lawyer if it comes down to formal charges being filed against you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • steph
      Tue, 18 Oct 2011 at 02:39

      My daughter is a victim of child pornography…can the detectives recover videos on a tmobile cell phone even if it wasn’t saved?
      Dear Steph: We are not cyber techs or have the experience with recovery of digital messages. However, it’s highly likely that law enforcement can retrieve deleted, trashed and unsaved messages. In your case, they would work together with the service provider to recover the content, text and photo. Good luck – we hope your daughter is well.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jacob v
      Thu, 20 Oct 2011 at 01:23

      I received some text messages from a girl, and I was showing some of my friends, and she found out about it, and threatened to get the police involved, but is it illegal for me to show other people text messages on my phone ? Or is this girl just trying to scare me?
      Dear Jacob: It’s unlikely that your state has a law against sharing text messages with friends, however, if she sent you nude or semi-nude images that you shared, you could be in violation of your state’s sexting laws or another similar law. You may want to check out the laws in your state. For more about what states are doing in response to the sexting trend, click here.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • homie
      Sun, 23 Oct 2011 at 11:48

      A friend of mine had his phone taken and his mom read texts relating to marijuana. I texted him asking if he wanted to buy some and his mom texted back pretending she was him. I eventually found out it wasnt him and said “Sorry Just kidding I dont do that stuff anymore Im just messing with you” She called the cops and they told my parents I am suspected of drug dealing but I have not heard anything since. Could I be charged for this?
      Dear Homie: Under the laws of your state, it is possible, if the police have more than the text messages, to charge you with a crime. It depends on what evidence exists showing that you did more than talk about drug sales, possesstion, transportation, etc. The text messages could be used against you to support any of these charges. It’s like any conversation that leads to a crime – it becomes part of the state’s case, but standing alone may not be sufficient to charge you. Bottom line: stay away from drugs, period. It will only lead to negative experiences that will affect your life and your family’s.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tammy
      Tue, 25 Oct 2011 at 06:51

      My cell phone was taken by Post Community Release officer. In CA how long can a PCS or probation officer hold onto personal property?
      Dear Tammy: That depends on a number of factors including the terms of your probation, the policies of the court that placed you on probation, and any written agreement you signed when put on probation. Check any documents you have from court, or the easiest way is to ask your PO about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Whatnot
      Thu, 27 Oct 2011 at 05:52

      My boyfriends wife took his cell phone and forwarded my photos and tax records to her personal email. He is divorcing her regardless but I want to know if I can I have her arrested for high jacking my personal information and photos? The photos were colorful.
      Dear Whatnot: Whether a crime has been committed depends on the laws in your state. You can report this to the police and they’ll take it from there. They will tell you what, if any, laws have been broken. You can also speak with a local lawyer about this and get some advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Paul Fox
      Thu, 03 Nov 2011 at 02:21

      i recently went to ualr main campus to have a student id made.i had my then girlfriend with me sarah.after i had my picture taken i said i needed to use the restroom.i went into the restroom and when i came out sarah was gone so i went to the main office to have her paged.they called campus security to assist in locating her but we couldnt find her.i had the officer escort me to my vehicle and found my truck was unlocked and my laptop,bag,droid phone,cash and jumper cables were missing.i spoke with the detective a ualr,she asked me my last name which is fox so i told her and she said my cousin had been sleeping with her sons wife.i said i didnt know and i just wanted to get my stuff back.we couldnt find sarah on acic so i told her i could get a picture off my facebook to show to the detective.i pulled up a picture and showed her and closed my facebook page.i told the detective i had a doctors appt. and told her id return when i was able to.i came back the following month to speak with the detective because she wouldnt return my calls,except one and she said i had to take the police report to the pulaski county prosecuting attorney myself.i drove back to the campus and spoke with the detective directly and she says she got back on my facebook when i left and read my inbox where i was the one who had been talking to her sons wife and she wasnt going to help me(completely unprofessional).on the police report she put that i was intoxicated and she couldnt understand me the day of the theft,that i appeared to be on some drugs.i told the detective im prescribed percocet twice daily for severe pain and klonopin for anxiety and she asked if i smoked pot and i said no.but on the police report she put that i said id never do drugs that i just smoked pot,total opposite of what i said.i want to know if her accessing my inbox without consent is an invasion of my privacy?because i gave no consent to search my facebook.also before the detective read my facebook inbox she believed everything i said and said she would hunt sarah to the end of the earth,after she read my facebook she made me look like i was trying to file a false police report and would not assist me in anyway.i feel like because of personal issues she has allowed a thief to run free.she downed me for taking meds that are presribed to me for serious medical issues and that id never finish college because i was a druggy.
      Dear Paul: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. We suggest you speak with a lawyer about your concerns here to see if any laws have been broken and what, if any, remedies you have. When the police are conducting an investigation, they have the authority to search for evidence with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances. Searching a computer or cell phone for messages may be part of a valid investigation. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jess
      Sat, 05 Nov 2011 at 01:22

      My husband (21 years old) & I (17 years old) have been married for about a year around the time our house got raided. We has been growing weed in our house so they had a search warrant. On the warrant it said they could take all electronics one of which was a digital camera on the camera were pictures of me nude my husband had taken for him and I only. They passed the camera around in front of me like it was a flipping play boy magazine. I asked them to stop and they said they could do what they wanted. They tried to tell out lawyer they were charging my husband with underage porn but the lawyer said they couldn’t now they won’t give us our three laptops backs and the camera because they say it’s child porn! I’m his wife for goodness sake?!?!?!!! I need to find a law stating because I was emancipated when the pictures were taken by my husband for only us that it’s not child porn please help.
      Dear Jess: Without knowing all the details of the “raid” and search warrant, we can’t comment on your situation. We suggest you speak with your lawyer about recovering your personal items. He/she would know about the confiscation laws in your state when goods are seized pursuant to a warrant. The lawyer can also advise you about such legal concepts as marital privilege, the applicable child pornography laws and your privacy rights in this situation. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jon
      Mon, 07 Nov 2011 at 01:25

      A phone of my friend’s was lost and there is evidence of him trafficking on it. If found, would the phone have to be returned legally or could he be charged from evidence on it. He no longer has cannabis in his possesion.
      Dear Jon: When the police are investigating a crime, they have the authority to collect evidence to support criminal charges. If the messages on the phone are considered evidence in a case, they’ll keep the phone until the case is concluded and that can be months or years. If the messages can be traced to an individual and there is additonal evidence of criminal behavior, the sender may be charged with violating a state law. A lot depends on the exact circumstances of the incident. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mia
      Tue, 08 Nov 2011 at 12:32

      A friend of mine aparently got arrested a couple of days ago. I don’t know what for but I’ve texting him repeatidly within these days. I don’t want to be tied to whatever he got himself into. Do police usually go through text messages of people being held?
      Dear Mia: When the police are investigating a crime, yes they can search computers, cell phones, etc. With or without a search warrant, depending on the circumstances, they are authorized to collect evidence. So you may want to limit your texting but that’s up to you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rick
      Wed, 16 Nov 2011 at 09:33

      I am trying to find out through my phone’s GPS where I was on a certain day. Even though I am the account holder they tell me it’s a breach of privacy to give me those records. Is this true even though it is my account? This is in Massachusetts btw.
      Dear Rick: Since you are the account holder you should be able to access the records maintained by the provider. You may have to ask for them in writing and provide identification and a copy of your latest bill for verification. You could also speak with a supervisor about this and ask what’s needed to obtain what you’re seeking. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rebbeca
      Sat, 19 Nov 2011 at 09:53

      Can someone send a naked pic of someone without that persons consent via text message ? My friend is going threw this it was her ex boyfriend and now he is sending it to people. We wanna call the cops but don’t wanna look stupid if we can’t do anything.Please help ! Thanks.
      Dear Rebbeca: If your friend is under 18 and is a minor, then it’s definitely illegal to forward the nude photo. It may be illegal under your state’s sexting law or if your state doesn’t specifically have a law concerning sexting, then it would be illegal under the child pornography or exploitation laws. Your friend needs to talk to an adult she trusts about what is going on.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Scott Cleland
      Mon, 12 Dec 2011 at 06:12

      Hello, I was arrested for possession of marijuana under two ounces, first marijuana offense, the took my phone and I was bailed out. They however, did not give my phone back saying it was evidence. Im sure there were texts on there to drug dealers, I am honestly just wondering is it possible they would attempt to charge me with more charges based on my texts or are the just going to use it for evidence in the possession case if I plead not guilty(i plan to plead no contest). I am extremely nervous because I do not need another charge on top of this one and if the likelihood that they wont would greatly put my mind at ease.
      Dear Scott: If there is additional evidence of other crimes, you may be charged. If it’s been months since this incident, the likelihood decreases as time passes. If you get a chance at court to speak with a public defender or you have your own lawyer, ask about this. Once the case is concluded, you can ask the police department to return your phone. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • chris
      Thu, 15 Dec 2011 at 10:42

      My older brother was arrested for possession of pills, hidrocodon ect.. the police went through his phone and saw messages from me and others asking about these pills.. can i get arrested for the messages i sent?
      Dear Chris: It would take more than just the messages alone to support a criminal charge. If they were about arranging for a sale or transportation and additional evidence exists supporting an actual transaction, then a crime may have been committed. You have to look to the exaxct language of the criminal laws in your state to see if the facts fit the defined crime. If you are charged, you’ll have a chance to speak with a lawyer, either one of your own choosing or a public defender appointed by the court to represent you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Emmanuel
      Mon, 26 Dec 2011 at 03:49

      hi im 17 when i got arrested the cop asked me if he could look though my cell phone with it being my first time i’ve been arrested i didnt know what i could do or say so i said i guess then my freind called my phone and the cop tried to act like he was me and answered and kept saying to lets meet somewhere after my freind had asked who it was then the cop kept saying the same thing so my friend hung up the cop tried to call him back atleast 3 to 5 more times can he do this and ohh he said he was keeping my phone for eveidence? if he finds that crimes had been comited on the phone through text messages or videos can they charge me with them when i go to court even if on videos its not me doing the things but friends?
      Dear Emmanuel: If you are charged with a crime based, in part, on messages or photos on your cell phone, discuss this with your lawyer. He or she will know how to defend you and keep any illegally obtained evidence out of court. Every state has laws about the collection of evidence and they apply to computers, cellphones and other digital devices. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • j
      Fri, 30 Dec 2011 at 02:19

      my phone was taken by an arresting police officer and was not listed in the list of seized items or booked into evidence and yet hasn’t been returned.Can the contents be used in court against me?
      now, i have another phone ,same number. where I am receiving harassing tex messages from someone claimming they are cops. When i called this number it says disconnected, there’s weird numbers or codes can they do that?
      Dear Jennifer: If you’re under 18, discuss this with your parents. They can take action and either get your phone back or receive an explanation of the police department’s policy when items are held. The contents on your phone may be used as evidence if messages, photos, etc. are connected to the crime. When someone is charged with a crime, the police are authorized to collect evidence for trial. Once the case is resolved, the items may be returned depending on what the items are and again, the laws in your state. If you’re an adult, you can speak with a lawyer about this for advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • breathalyzer
      Fri, 06 Jan 2012 at 04:58

      breathalyzer…

      [...]Can Police Read Text Messages, Cell Phone Law | Askthejudge[...]…

    • beka meow
      Fri, 06 Jan 2012 at 06:07

      I was a passenger in the back seat of a car. We had gotten pulled over & the car got searched. Come to find out the car was full of stolen guns & a large amount of drugs. I didnt know any of it was in the car, I was just getting a ride home. The detective took my phone & said he was gonna use it in part of his “investigation” Can he do that? I wasnt charged with anything. I was just a passenger in the car.
      Dear Beka: Yes, the police, when investigating a crime, are authorized to collect evidence. That includes your cellphone. If there’s nothing on it that can be used in the case, it will be returned to you if the laws in your state allow this. In drug cases, it’s common for evidence that’s seized by the police is confiscated. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Aylin
      Sat, 07 Jan 2012 at 02:15

      Hello,

      I have I question. I have a friend who is workling in security, is my boyfriend in fact , but we had never too close relationshio. All this situation make me think much and why he is doing like this, it make me think he check me all of the time. Well, in last time, I was playing with his cellphone number, I called him from other number and changed my voice in man ( I can change my voice easy) . I was doing as harassment I think this.. It was a stupid game for me , but they called that number and the received call was appeared just like my number call my number ! I can’t understand how they check this ? And ahy appear like this ? And I want to know if he has any right to read my text messages also from this sim card . Also if he has any right to listen my all conversations ? I am in China, he is chinese . I am foreigner. Please let me know if they can do this.
      Another question, how they can see where I am when I call usingg my cellphone ? I was told my area of living . How they can find this ??? And please let me know what chance they have to find me at least ? I broken that sim card, but I still keep my cellphone. What should I do ? to destroy the cellphone also to not keep them in my house ? It was a stupid game, but I don’t want have troubles from this.. Thank you !
      Dear Aylin: Whether your boyfriend can check your messages and look at your conversations may depend on the laws of your country. In the U.S., it would be a civil issue. Looking at a person’s texts, etc. usually becomes a criminal issue only when the police are involved and they searched a person’s cell phone. It does not sound like you would be in violation of any harassment laws since you were playing a joke on your boyfriend, but again, this may depend on the specific laws in your area. Perhaps you could try talking to your boyfriend and explain that you were joking around and apologize for any trouble you gave him. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • joe
      Fri, 13 Jan 2012 at 01:39

      Judge, I was wondering.

      How far back is a person able to look at their text messages history?

      If it is through a certain point, does the previous text messages past the certain point get deleted?
      Dear Joe: That all depends on the policies of your service provider. Each has their own practice regarding retained records and archives. You can call them and ask or go online to the providers website and read about their policies. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • margaret mcgregor
      Fri, 13 Jan 2012 at 08:11

      i was just wondering if u could give me advise related to the police seizing my partners phone. we were all out for friends birthday and went back to a house party where 3 other males entered a fight broke out with my friends partner and one of the males who came in it got a bit heavy and ended up in front garden where me or my partner never seen what happened. when my partner walked to front door and seen lots of blood coming from the male who entered he threw his phone to me and told me to call for an ambulance which i did. soon after police and ambulance came and everyone in house was takin up for questioning by c.i.d where for some reason or another they seized my partners phone because the 999 call was made from it. we dont understand why they took phone as all 999 call are recorded. my partner has been trying to get phone back and police dont seem really helpful. this is an expensive phone and has a lot of personal details and photos which cannot be replaced with family. hes went to his lawyer and she is goin to see what she can do to get it back. but why can they take phone for dialing 999 to save someone life. the two males were released and charged with assault on each other and they still have phone and case hasent been sent to the proculator fiscal office either. we are from scotland in the uk.
      Dear Margaret: Generally when the police have an open investigation, they are allowed under the law to collect evidence. In this case, there may be information on the phone that could be used as evidence in the assault charges filed against the two combatants. So, the authorities may have a right to hold on to the phone until these cases are resolved. Your partner’s lawyer will explain this to you and do what she can toward retrieving it. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kim
      Sun, 15 Jan 2012 at 04:25

      I was wondering if I could get charged for sending text messages to myself threatening my own life? The police have my phone records and I am waiting to hear what is going to happen? I live in PA. Thank you for your time.
      Dear Kim: It’s very unlikely that you could be charged for sending threatening messages to yourself. However, the police may want to investigate if they believe the messages came from someone else or believe that you sent threatening messages to a third party. If you are wanting to hurt yourself or are having suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone. You are not alone and there are plenty of people out there who can help. You can call the National Hopeline Network 1-800-784-2433 or click here for more resources. Take care of yourself.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sharon
      Thu, 19 Jan 2012 at 05:11

      My mother turned off her ATT cell account (unfortunately still owes money). My nephew is in county and needs the text off a dead phone… does anyone have a method to retreive this information??? we need messages to prove he wasn’t stalking his ex..
      thanks…
      Dear Sharon: We suggest you try contacting the cell phone company, explain the circumstances and see what can be done to retrieve the text. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Aylin- China
      Thu, 19 Jan 2012 at 08:45

      Hello again and thanks for your previews reply !
      I have to relate to you other question here : I need a different idea other than Chinese ideas.. so I contact you again with respect telling my story :
      I met my boyfriend 3 years ago. We planed to live together, but every time we planed something, there was a problem , he found resons and reasons.. Well, I tought he lie me. Later, we planed to marry . I had all my documents from my embassy ready for marry him here in China, but he text me a sms message : Aylin, please give me 4 days… I need 4 days more to close a project.. ” the sms is more long, he beg me to give him this days, but , me, as any woman who feel something is wrong, I called him in that days and ? surprise, a woman answered to his phone and told me is his wife… Before of this, he told me he worked for some secutiry projects with his company , I asked him, are you sure we can marry ? They allow you marry a foreigner now ? He said yes, I am not in their services, I only had some projects for them… Well, , then he said that woman is not his wife, is his ex gf who make him problems. I asked them both to come to my embassy then as I had to report this case because I had to complete some documents there about my actual status to inform them if I married with him or not after they gave me the documents for prepare for this. They came there, there that woman didn’t said is his wife !In my opinion, she played a game , a good role and she may be sent special from secutiry department to control him and stop him marry a foreigner ? He told me that he didn;t knew that he didn;t finished his status involved in this security policy , he should wait 2 months more to exit from their status, but he didn’t knew about this clear… Well, that woman, second day after she said is his wife, she called me and asked me to come to talk with them both, also she asked me if I am ok, if I am feel ok.. I don’t think so a wife can be so calm down after find her husband ready marry with other woman.. and also a man I think is not crazy to ask other woman marry him if he would be already married, right ???
      He helped me in this years with so much money here for my needs. I didn’t asked him, he was doing this by hisself. Then , after the embassy story, he told me that he asked that woman to give him money and now the woman found out what he done and she want her money back from me. He told me the woman asked some special peoples from this kind of special company ( bad peoples) who follow him every day to give them back the money . He told me this since 1 year already, that peoples follow him and asked him to give back all the money one time + to pay their salary 50 Euro (500 CNY) every day . He always said no enough money to pay them all the money one time because he has to pay them the salarry for following him, 50 euro/day… I tried find info , of course later to see if he lie me or not, but I cannot find too much. I called his phone many times, it was true he was all the time together with that peoples, one people keep his phone and answer to his phone , if someone call him , they call back then to see who is and ask info about me if I called him or other person as they want to find me too… I called him many times, he was there with them, if I insisted to talk with him, they pass the phone to him . So he is not with that woman anymore. I asked his staffs to his company, they confirmed to me that a people keep his phone and also they cannot csall them because that people ask if I am to his office and info about me.

      My dear, this story made me almost crazy ! I was ready lose my minds I can say many times and I cannot find quiet in my soul and life . I want to ask you : in your opinion, that peoples are the security peoples and ask him maybe to pay back some money ( so much money maybe) as he violated the working contract conditions with them and because he was ready then to marry a foreigner and in the contract possible to be write that he cannot do this ???? Why in 2 years that woman never appeared in our life …? why she appeared exactly when we planed to marry ? We was talking in sms this and possible they check his sms always and they know all of our things , maybe he never knew about this too ?.,… Why this woman disappeared after she played this role of “wife” ?…
      So you think too this peoples are the security peoples, but not someone from a special company as he told me ? He said the woman send that peoples follow him because she want her money back. I don’t believe this can be legal in any country ! If would be like this, why he not go to police ???? He said the police cannot solve this things. I don’t believe this !
      He don’t want to say good bye to me also, he keep contact with me since then and promise to me he finish this things , but from what I see, he don’t finish or he cannot…. We had so much quarrels because I was so confuse, but in my opinion this is security peoples, not who he told me. ….

      Please let me know your opinion and if in US does exist some company who send peoples to follow someone to take back some money, or if you think the same as me that this peoples are from security, not from where he told me…….

      Thank you in advance !
      Dear Aylin: AsktheJudge.info is a site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. We suggest you speak with a lawyer in your area who is familiar with the marriage laws in China and security issues involving foreigners marrying Chinese citizens. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Eric
      Thu, 19 Jan 2012 at 10:21

      My friend’s dealer was caught by the police, and they confiscated his phone. My friend was texting him the day he got arrested. Can the police come after my friend at all? My friend’s from CA and this is a marijuana dealer.
      Dear Eric: The police have the authority to collect evidence of criminal activity through many sources. This includes the content on computers, smart phones, iPads, etc. So, yes, they can investigate your friend through the text messages if they believe a crime has been committed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mrcardenas
      Fri, 20 Jan 2012 at 02:08

      I got called in to speak with a investigating cop who had received acusations of me distributing pain pills to another individual(the accuser). I admitted that I had done so in the past but when I told her i wouldn’t anymore so she turned me in to the investigator saying I was harassing her to buy pills. The investigator took my phone and copied the hard drive of all my msgs deleted and current. They r msgs of the previous transactions between her and I but nothing within the last 60 days when I told her to leave me alone. Can I still get in trouble for these
      Dear Mrcardenas: It’s possible that you could face charges based on the text messages as well as your confession. Even though the messages are from 60 days ago, they are most likely within the statute of limitations (the time limits to file criminal charges) to charge you with a drug offense. Usually, the prosecutor will review any police reports and evidence to determine if there is enough evidence to file charges. If the prosecutor believes there needs to be more evidence, the police may continue to investigate the matter, so be sure to stay out of trouble. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • scotty
      Fri, 20 Jan 2012 at 10:49

      my names scotty im from NE i am 16 i got caught for sending pictures the cops took my phone as “evidence”. they have had it for almost 4 months and no charges have been pressed. is it legal for them to hold it this long?? should they also be able to take it if no charges are being pressed??
      Dear Scotty: It is common for the police to confiscate and seize a person’s property such as a cell phone when there is an ongoing investigation and the property is evidence. Charges do not need to be filed in order for the police to hold onto a person’s property. Since 4 months have already passed, you may have gotten lucky without being charged. You and your parents could try contacting the police department and ask the officer or supervisor who is handling your case whether you might be able to get your phone back. Either the police will want to keep your phone if charges are going to be filed or they will be willing to give it back to you if no charges are filed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tylor
      Sat, 21 Jan 2012 at 09:32

      I had been calling a dealer repeatedly while his phone was in police custody, is it likely they will come to my house or investigate my person. I have sent messages looking for product, but thats it. Iv never been a distributors, just a desperate addict looking for a fix, msg will only confirm someone looking to buy, nothing else. Been clean for a week and really want to stay clean from this point on.
      Dear Tylor: The police would need more than a few messages to charge you with a crime. Hard evidence is needed against a person to formally accuse them of criminal activity. The situation may be different if you’re already on probation or parole. The messages may be evidence of a probation violation. Congrats on your first week clean. Keep it up and write us again when you hit one year. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tyler
      Tue, 24 Jan 2012 at 03:57

      A few years ago before this whole sexting thing became well known I was sent topless photos while I was 14. Now those photos are re surfacing and is it possible for me to get in trouble if I didn’t send the pictures to anyone or show anyone and the other person just sent that same photo to others. I also do not have the photo and haven’t had it or talked to the person in the last 3 years.
      Dear Tyler: You have hit the big issue regarding sexting squarely on the head – photos have a way of resurfacing years later. You have to look to your state’s laws on sexting if they exist. Not all states have addressed this yet. If you haven’t done anything with these photos since they initially appeared online, you may be in the clear but, again, it depends on any laws that apply and how the facts of your case fit under the law. If you’re comfortable doing this, discuss this with your parents so they can do what’s necessary to protect you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Joe
      Tue, 21 Feb 2012 at 11:43

      Question….message woman stating 18years of age on dating sight. She sends back phone number to text her. Photos are exchanged suggestive but not nude. find out later she is 15 police have computer and phone are in the process of searching it. Can i be held liable for anything?
      Dear Joe: That depends on the laws in your state. Some states have “sexting” laws that penalize this activity. Ignorance is not a defense to criminal activity – in other words, whether you knew her correct age or not, you could still be charged with violating the law. Google the name of your state and “sexting laws” for information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • nai
      Thu, 23 Feb 2012 at 02:35

      If someone i knew overdosed, and i was the last person he was with, can the police locate old deleted texts?
      Dear Nai: When the police are investigating a crime they have the authority to collect evidence. That may be from any digital device including mobile phones, laptops, tablets, etc. Even deleted texts may appear if the police check with the service provider with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • nai
      Thu, 23 Feb 2012 at 01:00

      ok, now if i am on Parole in california, and all this happened, can they try to prove that i gave so and so the drugs that lead to his o.d.?
      Dear Nai: If the police have reason to believe you contributed to a person’s overdosing and, by doing so, a law was broken, yes they can investigate this. If it’s proven to be true, your parole will be affected. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • chris
      Tue, 28 Feb 2012 at 07:53

      I have question about the police I have been pulled over by police 3 times over a 2 week period and the ask me for my cell phone number and to search my cell phone without a warrent is that legal or do I have to give an officer my phone number or phone when no crime was commited for a unnesssery stop for walking on the side walk to church the first time and grocery store the second and the movies the third so answer my question please according to CA state law please
      Dear Chris: The police have the authority to collect evidence if they have probable cause to believe a crime has been or is being committed. You can challenge the evidence if and when you’re charged with a crime. Explain everything to your lawyer and he’ll know how best to defend you and keep illegally obtained evidence out of the case. If you’re a minor, speak with your parents about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • razor scooter review
      Fri, 02 Mar 2012 at 11:59

      I do trust all the ideas you’ve offered for your post. They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for newbies. Could you please lengthen them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.
      Dear Razor: Our intent is to provide brief comments & explanations of legal events, new laws and cases to our readers. Hopefully our content will lead our audience to further research on subjects of interest. Thanks for writing.

    • eric
      Fri, 02 Mar 2012 at 09:13

      a school cop took my iPod touch before i got arrested for having a pill(naproxen(not controlled)) after they took me to the office he came and took me into his office n searched my ipod without my permission after finding pictures of weed and guns he tells the vice principal to look at the pics and he did can i say this in court if they press charges?
      Dear Eric: If you’re charged with a crime, explain everything that happened to your lawyer. He or she will know how to handle the evidence gathered against you. Generally, school officials have the authority to search a student’s possessions if reasonable suspicion exists that a crime has been committed or a school rule broken. Similarly, the police can search a student’s possessions if they have probable cause a crime has been committed. These are issues you can discuss with your lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anna
      Mon, 12 Mar 2012 at 03:12

      I prank text me friend saying i buryed a body and the cops saw the text message and pulled up at her house but she told them that it was a joke and that I was sorry. So would i get in trouble?
      Dear Anna: Pranks are common among friends but you have to be careful about what you say online, by cellphone, etc. The police don’t know if you’re kidding or not and they’ll investigate anything that looks suspicious or may lead to a crime. Be very careful about what you write, post or send to friends including photos that may constitute sexting. In other words, “Think B4 U Send.”
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • lifesize desktop
      Mon, 02 Apr 2012 at 12:47

      Ok so I am thinking about removing my site from Tumbler and get it to a WordPress site. I believe this is a wordpress blog right? If it is, may I ask where you got the theme? Thanks a bunch!
      The theme is a custom one designed specifically for our site. Thanks for asking!

    • Wayne
      Mon, 09 Apr 2012 at 02:00

      Can one parent in a child custody battle intercept texts to the child from the “other” parent on the basis it is in “best Interest” of the child, even though the phones are owned by the “other parent” and the children are currently held in joint custody, as well as the fact the text messages were harmless, normal conversations between parent and child?
      Dear Wayne: Every state has laws regarding privacy of individuals. This includes the use of digital devices such as cellphones, computers, etc. You would have to check them for the specifics that apply to you. Google the name of your state and “cellphone privacy laws” or you can contact your service provider for information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kate
      Wed, 11 Apr 2012 at 07:41

      Today my boyfriend got arrested and basically he had some Adderal pills that weren’t prescribed to him that he was getting for me. And they found the pills and he called me from Juvie and bascically they took his cell phone away and me and him shared some text messages about Adderall and weed. I never said anything about selling, but I did mention that I was on Adderal (not weed) and that I was freaking out. Do you think that they’ll contact me for this? (Also my boyfriend texts about drugs to pretty much every single one of his contacts about even worse stuff than weed and Adderall) Do you think I’ll get charged with anything? Could I say that it was my was my friend texting off my phone? There is no evidence that I even did anything except for these texts. I am really anxious about this so please answer me fast. Thank you!
      Dear Kate: Whether you can be charged with a crime depends on a number of factors: the laws in your state, the exact content of your messages and whether they amount to a sale, offer to sell, distribution, etc. of drugs. The police may want to talk with you but you do have the right to remain silent. If this happens, you might want to speak with a lawyer first. You could also get lucky this time and not hear from the police at all. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • wish
      Mon, 23 Apr 2012 at 09:51

      I was a passenger in a car that was pulled over..and they found a spoon and needle under the drivers seat. It was not mine but my frend looked over at me a said “dude whY did you put that there” (but the officer told me he didnt believe him)because he had so mant track marks( i also had scaring from when i used before. we were BOTH charged with disorderlly conduct. and they took both are phones. the officer witnissed me get in the car and pulled us over within 15 sec. of when i got in. Why was i charged with disorderlly? And is it legal to take and look thru my phone amd messags? this was in ATANTA GA by the way. Thank You!
      Dear Wish: When the police are investigating criminal activity, they have the authority & duty to collect evidence. That may include taking a cellphone, computer, etc. until the case is closed. Why you were charged with disorderly conduct depends on what happened, the officer’s view of the circumstances and Georgia’s definition of disorderly conduct. You can Google “Georgia disorderly conduct law” for information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • michelle
      Wed, 25 Apr 2012 at 12:21

      I LIVE IN UTAH MY SON WAS 15 WHEN HE STARTED DATING THIS 16 YR OLD GIRL IN JUNE OF 2011 HE WAS A VERGIN WHEN THEY MET AND 4 MONTHS INTO THE RELATIONSHIP SHE TOOK HIS VERGINITY HE IS NOW 16 AND I WAS WONDERING IF I COULD PRESS STAGITORY RAPE CHARGES ON THIS GIRL ALSO SHE HAS BEEN NOTHING BUT TROUBLE SINCE DAY ONE AND MY SON IS SO OBESSED WITH HER HE DOES EVERYTHING SHE WANTS SHE WAS CAUSING A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH MY FAMILY AS WELL AS HER OWN SO HER FATHER SENT HER TO LIVE WITH HER MOM IN NC NOW SHE IS ALWAYS SENDING HIM NUDE PICS ON HIS PHONE I TOLD HIM TO TELL HER TO STOP BUT THEY JUST KEEP COMING ALL THE TIME SHE IS MANY MILES AWAY BUT YET SHE STILL INFLUENSES MY SON IN BAD WAYS HE IS DISRESPECTFUL TO ME AND HIS FATHER AND EVEN POLICE OFFICERS BE FORE HE MET HER HE WAS NOTHING LIKE THIS AND HE WAS FOCASED ON HIS FUTURE AND SCHOOL HE WAS A VERY CARING LOVING RESPECTFUL YOUNG MAN … WHAT SHOULD I DO AND HOW CAN I GET THE SEXTING TO STOP
      Dear Michelle: You can either contact his parents and talk about this and/or report it to the police. If he continues to send nude photos, under the laws in Utah, it may constitute harassment, stalking or other criminal acts. If you contact the police, ask them about your concern about statutory rape, You can also go to the public library and ask to see Utah Code 76-5-401 and the following sections. You’ll see the definitions regarding sexual conduct with a minor and between minors. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • rachelle
      Thu, 03 May 2012 at 05:11

      well recently my ex sent my nude photos out to 500 and up people. police are already involved. they have a supina on both of our phones. i dont care if they go through my phone, but i have messages that dont have to do with the investigation that are my privacy. Can the police look at the messages that dont have to do with the investigation
      Dear Rachelle: Unfortunately, the police can read through your messages if searching your phone is part of a criminal investigation. Without reading the texts how else could they determine if it’s tied in with a crime or not? If you end up being charged with a crime, discuss this with your lawyer. If the evidence was obtained unlawfully, he or she will know how to challenge its admission in court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • judy
      Thu, 03 May 2012 at 05:20

      if the police are going through my phone for an investigation on my sending out a specific photo, can i get in trouble for the other nude photos i have sent,
      Dear Judy: Under the laws in your state, it is possible that the photos may be illegal depending on how explicit they are, your age, the age of the person you sent them to and other factors. You have to look to the sexting laws in your state to see if you’ve broken any laws. Think twice before doing this again. There are serious consequences for sexting. Nothing posted online or sent out by cellphone is private regardless of your settings. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • judy
      Thu, 03 May 2012 at 05:48

      is there anyway i can delete my data from my iphone 4 to a certain date?
      the cops are investigation my phone and i dont want them to se messages from a while ago beause they are personal
      Dear Judy: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for teenagers about the laws that affect them. We don’t provide IT or legal advice to adults or teens. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • David Ayala
      Sun, 06 May 2012 at 03:24

      I borought a gun to school becouse couple fo guys were bothering me but i wasnt gona hurt or kill anyone but i wanet to scare them an they took my phone up and they used it ass proof on a video i had a gun can they read my messeges
      Dear David: If the police are investigating a crime, they have the authority to collect evidence. Evidence may include messages on a cellphone. If they have probable cause to believe the phone contains messages related to a crime, they can search it with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • joe ray
      Sun, 03 Jun 2012 at 10:58

      a woman from canada who is 38 sent me nude pics an my wife saw them. can i press charges on that woman? even though i live in america
      Dear Joe: Assuming you are an adult, there may be no violation of your state’s laws depending on the specific facts. However, if you believe this woman is harassing you or sending you unwanted pictures, etc., you could report it to the police and they may investigate the matter. Ultimately, it’s up to the prosecutor’s office whether or not criminal charges will be filed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • cinnamon
      Mon, 16 Jul 2012 at 01:01

      I was arrested for taking narcotics into a prison. They confiscated my cell phone, and put in the report I gave them permission to go thru it. I never gave the Correctional Officers permission to access my cell phone. As a matter of fact, after I was sitting at a hospital, the CO came in and started asking me questions about some text messages. i think there is something weird here considering in the report he stated, I have him permission> I am reading different information where it says unless it is in the warrant they should not have went thru my phone. I am thinking this is why he is trying to put it in the report stating I gave permission because they know they should not have been going thru my phone.
      Dear Cinnamon: The laws vary from state to state concerning the search and seizure of cell phones. Usually, an officer will need at least reasonable suspicion of criminal activity before searching a person’s phone. You need to talk to your attorney about this issue and whether there may have been an illegal search. If you don’t have an attorney, one may be appointed to represent you.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • free attorney consultation
      Sat, 28 Jul 2012 at 07:22

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      Thank you for your comments. -Judge Tom

    • Joe
      Mon, 06 Aug 2012 at 09:56

      Hey, my friend got caught by undercover cop. The undercover texted him and arranged a transaction and my friend fell for it. He showed up and he was arrested. Now they have his phone. I am kind of scared because my friend and I talked about a lot of stuff through texting. For example, selling we*ed together. In the text history, He wanted to buy some weed, so I told him where and from whom he can get some. (Can i get in trouble for this?) Also, in the text history, I told him, when i get back, we would sell together (can i get in trouble for this?) Also, I told him to buy some we%%ed for me and I would pay him back when i get back (can i get in trouble for this?) ? I live in a different state than he does, but we go to school in his state…and the police has his phone as evidence. I am just really scared that when i go back for school, the moment i get off the train, there will be police waiting to take me in. If i get in trouble, if they go through our text history, what will i get in trouble for? Pleasee help, i’m really scared.
      He just to clear up some facts, when i said “selling *we*ed together” i didn’t mean we already sold that stuff together. I meant we were just jokingly talking about selling it in the future, but we never did sell it in the past. There is no records of me making any type of drug transaction in the past in his text history, we were just jokingly talking about the future…so pleasee help me! I don’t know if i’m going to be in trouble or not.
      Dear Joe: It is unlikely that you’re in trouble for your conversations with your friend. It takes more than language to break the law – some follow through is needed. So, joking around about drugs, sale, possession and transportation, without more is not unlawful. However, if the police have evidence of any action taken to actually go through with a sale, for example, they may want to speak with you. Discuss this with your parents and/or a criminal defense lawyer to obtain advice about how to proceed when you return to school. Good luck. Remember, nothing you put online or by email is private. It can always be retrieved and used against you in the proper setting.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Joe
      Tue, 07 Aug 2012 at 03:49

      Hey it’s joe again. The thing is i don’t want my parents to know all this happening with my friend. So that’s why I am in need of help. When you said “actually go through with a sale” I am a little unclear about it. While I never went through with a sale, I told him from whom he can make a transaction with. Will I be in trouble for this? In addition, I made him a spreadsheet of his sales and I sent it to his social network in private message. I am not sure if the authorities saw the spreadsheet or not. But even if they did, Will i be in trouble for making the spreadsheet for him? Will they get me as a conspirator or on some kind of conspiracy charges? Pleaseee help! I appreciate your help so far! thank you! :)
      Dear Joe: You may have crossed the line in what you’ve done but we can’t say for sure since we don’t know the specifics and the particular laws in your state that apply to this situation. Plus we don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults. AsktheJudge is an education site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. If you end up being charged with a crime, you can discuss this with your lawyer. If that happens, your parents will have to know what’s going on if you’re under 18. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • linda
      Mon, 13 Aug 2012 at 04:05

      excuse me, your honor, i just found out today that car radios will have text messages on it which to me is not good at all if you have to read it? But a voice text message would be better no? That’s very dangerious doing texting while driving too right? As i get older technology changes but sometimes not for the good. I’m glad I have a car radio that’s just a ‘car radio’ not another computer waiting to give you trouble right? Can you do something about this your honor? Thanks, linda
      Dear Linda: There is no stopping technology or advances in science. It’s up to us to use new devices responsibly and safely. For example, a TV is an accepted means of entertainment, but sitting in front of you on your dashboard while driving is a personal decision that’s going to backfire. If we all use our heads and think before we act, the world will be a better place.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Alexis
      Tue, 21 Aug 2012 at 10:25

      After being phyisically attacked in my home by an ex boyfriend, the police started to question me in my house and looked through my cellphone and texts that were completely irrelevant to the attacking. Is this legal? Do I have my rights to not let them look through?
      Dear Alexis: When the police are investigating a crime, they are authorized to collect evidence in the event charges are filed. They have to present to your local prosecutor all evidence in support of any charges brought to court. So, depending on the exact circumstances, they may be able to look at your phone for texts or numbers that are related to the incident. If charges are filed against your ex-boyfriend he can discuss this with his lawyer. Good luck and be safe.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • scott
      Sun, 09 Sep 2012 at 08:00

      i lost my phone and it was found the say that the person who found it went trough it and said there where drug texts they asked to go through it i said no and then they said they will kept it and mabe get a search warent how long till they have to give it back in wisconsin
      Dear Scott: If the police are conducting a criminal investigation, they may be able to hold onto personal property that they believe may be evidence. How long they can keep the property may depend on your state’s laws as well as the rules and polices of the police department. You could ask to speak with a supervisor and find out when you can expect to get your phone back especially if they don’t get a warrant. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Renay
      Mon, 01 Oct 2012 at 09:10

      Hey I live in the UK, im 17 but nearly 18 and sent pictures of me naked to myboyfriend who just turned 18 and he sent me some back is it illegal? I know my boyfriend wouldnt ever share the pictures but is there a way the police can find out if the puctures were sent through Skype? I also look older for my age.
      Dear Renay: Every state in the U.S. and country has their own laws about”sexting.” So, if you Google “England sexting laws” you’ll be able to see what the status in your country is regarding this behavior. Now that your pictures are out there in cyberspace, there’s little you can do about it. You can ask your boyfriend to delete them and hope they haven’t been stored in a file or sent on to others. Think twice before doing this again – it may have an effect on your future.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • D. R. Knight
      Mon, 08 Oct 2012 at 01:56

      If a police officer in the US does the job they were employed for and choose to do it the right way…NO…they can’t.
      Have to get a court order.
      And then a *wiretap* of sorts…it’s not a live feed, but a record of calls into and from a phone.
      Sometime TV tells the truth…sometime not….watch and make an informed choice.
      Informed…some know better and take advantage of the system, some have no clue and try to get help. I have asked for help….no answer yet. Doesn’t mean I’m clueless…just means I being a male…can’t get anything. But whatever a female or the cops dish out. at will.
      I’ll take a lie detector test on it.
      Dear D.R.: Actually, if you read this post, you will see that the answer is that it depends on the laws of your state. In California, for instance, the CA Supreme Court has ruled that a warrantless search of a cell phone is constitutional when it’s “incident to arrest”. So, don’t think that the police must have a warrant in order to search a person’s phone. It’s a fact specific question and there are several exceptions to the warrant requirement.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Bob
      Sat, 13 Oct 2012 at 05:01

      I recieved A text saying, “the phone number (my number) is being investigated by the Police Department. if further information is needed please contact (police department number)

      Why would i be notified? Is it common or even likely that they would do that? Not sure if im being messed with by someone or if they really dont have a warrant and im being coaxed into contacting them and divulging info that they are trying to get. I dont know what.to think, just wierd that if they are investigating my phone why i would be notified. Thanks for anyknowledge about this!
      Dear Bob: You’re right – the message does seem a bit strange, yet that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible for the police to actually be conducting an investigation that somehow involves your phone. Your best bet may be to just call the number and find out more. If they want to ask you questions/interview you, you have rights and don’t have to cooperate. If the police got a warrant to search your phone, they would tell you, serve you with the warrant and confiscate the phone, so it doesn’t sound like a warrant has been issued. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Dodie
      Tue, 16 Oct 2012 at 07:14

      How can you get the police to retrieve text messages to prove that you are innocent of a crime if you know that the person that is accusing you sent the truth in a now deleted text and the police do not seem to be willing to hear your side of the story?
      Dear Dodie: Since you have been charged with a crime, talk with your lawyer about this. He or she can subpoena the phone records to help in your defense, Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dodie
      Wed, 17 Oct 2012 at 07:51

      There have not been any charges filed as of yet, the cell phone company has been contacted and will not provide the records, however they claim these messages are only stored for a limited amount of time.. A lawyer was contacted but say that until charges are filed they can not assist. By that time it may be too late. How far back can records be pulled with a court order? Its as if the police are waiting to file charges until that timeframe has passed… I can’t seem to get assistance anywhere.
      Dear Dodie: We can’t give you legal advice about this since we don’t have an attorney-client relationship with any of our readers. We suggest you speak with a local criminal defense lawyer. You may be able to obtain a free consultation for a brief meeting with one. Ask about this if you contact a lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dena
      Thu, 27 Dec 2012 at 12:57

      Can federal law enforcement obtain past text messages from att provider & use them in court? Can they read what they say or just the #’s sent & received?
      Dear Dena: With or without a search warrant, depending on the circumstances, law enforcement (federal, local or state) can search cell phones and use the evidence discovered in an investigation or a case where criminal charges are filed against someone. It’s up to the defense attorney to seek a limitation on what’s obtained in the search. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Caroline daker
      Mon, 31 Dec 2012 at 09:42

      My son got intoxicated in october 2012, he and his girlfriend had fell out so he sent some nasty texts. Police arrested him, he pleaded guilty. The police have kept his phone. The case was dealt with early november 2012, which he pleaded guilty. He still has not been able to get his phone back off police, hiw long after the case is dealt with van police keep his for as he still has to pay the monthly bill on a phone he is not using as police wont release it
      Dear Caroline: Try to get an answer from the police or a higher-up in the department about their policy regarding confiscated property. Once a case is completed, property is oftentimes returned. But laws in your state may allow the police to keep it longer, for example, as long as he’s on probation or in a diversion program. He can ask his probation officer about this or the person supervising his diversion. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Adrienne
      Tue, 01 Jan 2013 at 09:31

      Recently my friend was being harassed by his ex girlfriend who has a prepaid cellphone, my question is if she continues to harass him could he call the cops and could they view received and sent texts even though his ex had a prepaid cell phone?
      Dear Adrienne: When the police are investigating criminal activity, they have the authority to check cell phones and other devices for content. That’s with or without a search warrant depending on the circumstances. If the harassment continues he can also consider going to court and asking for a restraining order against her. He wouldn’t need a lawyer to do this either. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Johnny
      Wed, 30 Jan 2013 at 09:04

      Hi, back 9 months ago (on May 2012) I was convicted of 2 felonies while in school and they were possession of an illegal knife and psychedelic mushrooms. I’m from California and I’m currently 14. Since I had moved to Arizona right when court was over (planned beforehand) I was sentenced to a year of probation, 75 hours of community service, and counseling. Now that that’s out of the way, I want to know if the police could trace my texts without consent. They took my phone number the day I was arrested and I’m a bit worried they will search my texts and see that I had spoken about drugs and sent videos and pictures of me smoking nicotine from an electric cigarette. My main question though would be; Will they review my texts and calls before my probation is over and I go to court so I can finalize my release? I send many texts every week so I doubt they would search every single text I’ve ever sent, but I wanted to be sure. Thank you.
      Dear Johnny: Since you’re still on probation, if anyone searches your phone, it would most likely be your probation officer. Review your terms of probation to see what it says about searches. Generally, if you’re on probation, a warrantless search of your phone or any other property of yours can be searched if there is suspicion that you’ve violated the terms of your probation. So, unless your probation officer is suspicious that a violation has occurred, you most likely will not have your phone searched at this point. However, if there is reason to believe that you are breaking the law or violating probation, then your phone may be searched. Please keep in mind that you are facing more serious penalties for additional offenses, so we hope you are complying with the terms of your probation. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Russell
      Thu, 21 Feb 2013 at 09:05

      My probation officer CAM to my house n ask for my phone did I hav to give it to her well anyway she took it hold it for 4days when I went to the Office to get it she ask for my password to the phone so I gave it to her then sus tell me to come back n get it 2marro isnt tht invading my parvicy can i get fuel trouble she went thru everything in my phone
      Dear Russell: When you are on probation, your probation officer has a right to conduct searches of your property which may include your cell phone. Review the terms of your probation for the specifics on searches. If you don’t have a copy of yout terms, ask your P.O. for one. You could be found to be in violation of your terms of probation if something is found on your phone that is incriminating. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Ryan
      Sun, 03 Mar 2013 at 07:29

      I live in Green Bay, WI. My girlfriend lives with my aunt(who is disabled). My aunt called me and said the police where there to talk to my girlfriend(Ashley). I waited about an 1 and half hours. Then tried to call her phone. The brown county sheriff answered the phone. Said his name and brown county sheriff. I asked “If he could have her call me”. The he proceed to tell me she’s in the back of his car and might go to jail. He told me that before I even told him. She is my girlfriend. Where are her privacy rights. I could of been anybody. That’s not anybody’s business. What are her privacy rights.
      Dear Ryan: We understand your concerns. However, when the police have someone in custody or detained while they conduct their investigation, it may be permissible for them to seize the person’s phone, search it and make or answer calls from it. This sometimes occurs as part of the investigation as the police search for additional evidence. Ultimately, it will depend on the specific facts of the case (whether she was already under arrest, detained, etc.), the laws of your state and the rules/policies of the sheriff’s office. If no criminal action was taken against your girlfriend, she could file a complaint against the officer so that there is documentation about what occurred or she can ask to speak with a supervisor. Good luck to your girlfriend.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Rebecca
      Mon, 04 Mar 2013 at 11:22

      One of my friends died because of an overdose, a few of us were proscribed to soboxone for heroine addiction and I believed everything was okay, I thought he was doing the same because he promised us he was. About Im not sure exactly the date but he became prescribed by a therapist to xanax or so he said and he had told us. About a month later he told me he was short a few and asked me if I knew where to find any so I got him four to six to hold him over until he got his. Well about four to six months it could’ve been a few more than that he OD because my number was in the phone I was called in for questioming. I explained to the detective that all I knew of was the soboxone because a few of us were eachothers support systems and he had been over frequently. He pushed and pushed to see if I had given him the xanax that was in my friends system when they did his autopsy and toxicology report. I was pregnant hormornal from being pregnant was unaware of why I was even there to begin with and I told him through my sobbing and hystericsy that it had been atleast the four to six months earlier or longer that I wanted to be honest that my friend was gone he was dead I may see jail but I still have my life and I would be totally and completely honest. I have two very young children one is three and he is a boy and a girl thats almost nine months please im terrified Im going to have a public defender and have my prolimenary trial in a few days and I am so scared to be away from my children, can you give me some examples of what may happen please and Thank You
      Dear Rebecca: We suggest you talk to your lawyer about the possible outcomes when you go to court. The penalties you may be subject to are spelled out in your state’s criminal laws and your lawyer will know what they require. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Charlotte
      Wed, 01 May 2013 at 11:23

      My brother was arrested on Friday and is currently in a jail cell. He was arrested with his cell phone. On this cell phone he has multiple facebook applications that are all showing that he is online (if the phone is not in use an Idle status is shown). This says to me that a law officer is currently monitoring his cell phone. Are the officers acting outside the laws of Virginia?
      Dear Charlotte: That depends on the specifics of the case and ongoing investigation. The authorities are allowed to collect evidence of criminal activity and cell phones are a major source of information. He’ll have to discuss this with his lawyer who will know how to handle any leads and information gathered against him. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • tammy
      Mon, 13 May 2013 at 03:48

      what happens when a officer takes your cell phone and then lost it
      Dear Tammy: Depending on the police department’s policies, the officer may be responsible for replacing the cell phone. You may need to contact a supervisor at the department to report the incident. If they do not help you get the answers to your questions, you could contact an attorney who handles civil matters. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • jerrod
      Wed, 22 May 2013 at 10:33
        the police took my phone and went through it. they also kept it. they have had it for over 2 months. ive went down there and tried to get it back multiple times. they said they would even leave notes to the investigator. month passes and still no phone. what should i do?
        Dear Jerrod: You may have to be more patient than you’ve been. The police are authorized to hold on to what may be evidence during an investigation. Once the investigation is closed your property will be returned. There may be information on the phone that leads to criminal charges against you or someone else. Keep checking with them on a regular basis. Good luck.
        (This is information only – not legal advice).
    • James
      Thu, 25 Jul 2013 at 07:56

      I was arrested for simple possession and the cop kept my phone and has kept it over a week. Don’t he have to give me some sort of paper of seizure or any other paper to have the right to keep it?
      Dear James: You could contact the police department and ask to speak with a supervisor about this. It’s possible that they are going to hold onto your phone while the case is pending, but there should be paperwork stating that it has been logged in as evidence. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Trish
      Wed, 13 Nov 2013 at 04:57

      I was arrested for a warrant and they searched me, they put all of my property on the hood of the truck, when they went to put me in the cruiser, a detective came up from another county and took my phone off the hood and kept it. Is that an illegal search and seizure? or does that fall into that in view law
      Dear Trish: It’s quite common for the police to seize a phone following the arrest of a person as the phone may contain evidence that can be used in the case. Whether or not the police can search the phone right then and there without obtaining a warrant first is going to depend on the specific facts of the case as well as the laws of the state. In California for example, the police can search a phone following the lawful arrest of a person without needing to obtain a warrant for the search. If you have further concerns about the confiscation and/or search of your phone, you may want to consult with criminal defense attorney in your area. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Bizzle
      Thu, 14 Nov 2013 at 04:36

      basically ive been charged with sending threatening messages and police have taken my phone until court. Even thou they have photo copies of the conversation (on whatsapp) there still holding it! Is this allowed?
      Dear Bizzle: Yes, generally speaking, the police can hold onto property such as cell phones that is determined to be evidence while a case is pending in court. However, you may want to consult with a local attorney to find out more based on the laws in your jurisdiction as well as the rules/policies of the police department. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Francois
      Fri, 15 Nov 2013 at 11:29

      Recently, I have had my ATM account accessed without consent. Fraudulent checks were placed in my account. I followed up with a claims dispute, which recommends strongly that I file a police report if I want to avoid being held liable. When I file the report and the investigation begins, do the police or any agency have the right to take my phone in at the start of the investigation?
      Dear Francois: If you’re worried about content on your phone you may want to clean it up if possible. The laws in your state govern what the police or other investigator can obtain with or without a search warrant. You can always consult a criminal defense attorney for legal advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • MC
      Wed, 11 Dec 2013 at 08:18

      My boyfriend’s ex stole his phone and went through it and found private, intimate pictures of me in his gallery. Without his knowledge, she texted the pictures to her phone and now is showing them to everyone she sees and telling people about them. I live in GA. Is there anything I can do to stop this? I work in the public eye and could lose my job for this!
      Dear MC: There are no specific “sexting” laws in Georgia according to the Cyberbullying Research Center. See this chart for state laws on the subject. There may be other laws that cover what this person is doing especially if you are under 18. If you are a minor, you need to discuss this with your parents so they can take appropriate action. Or you can speak with the police to see if any laws have been violated. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jenny
      Tue, 31 Dec 2013 at 09:49

      I was arrested for drunk in public police took my purse with my walet, Id, cell phone. When they released me they didn’t give me my purse back, they told me to come back for it in few days. Is it legal for police to keep my purse with my id, walet, phone? I don’t see any reason for them to keep my purse with all my stuff like that???
      Dear Jenny: Oftentimes, during an ongoing investigation the police will keep articles taken from someone. Once the case is closed you can recover your purse and the contents. Check with them regularly (once a week or so) so they don’t forget about you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sabby
      Sun, 12 Jan 2014 at 10:32

      I am on probation, witch I know I signed over my rights of the fourth amendment. Dose that mean I signed over my rights over to my school officials(teachers) also? I had left my phone in the school bathroom. Later I went looking for my phone not knowing where it was at. I looked around and asked around. Turns out on of my good friends turned it into the office. One of the office people went though my messages and seen things on there about marijuana and turned it over to the school principal. Do they have the right to do that even if I signed over my rights to the police? He still has my phone and looking through it when I was right there. he had my phone since 1/8/13. He said he is turning it over to the police. but still has not. He refuses to give it back. Help me please?
      he had it since 1/8/14 sorry typeo.
      Dear Sabby: We suggest you talk with your parents or probation officer about this. You’re right about the 4th Amendment and how it applies to you while on probation. But that doesn’t necessarily give the school the right to search through your phone. Your student handbook may have a policy about cell phones – take a look at it. Your parents may want to ask for a meeting with the principal to straighten this out. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Bryce
      Thu, 16 Jan 2014 at 03:12

      My friend got caught selling aderall at school and they confiscated his phone. Hey had people on his phone texting him asking to buy some so how much trouble can those people get in?
      Dear Bryce: That will depend on the laws in your state and the exact content of the text messages. Charges related to the sale of drugs include being an accomplice to a sale or accessory. You can google the name of the state and “criminal accomplice laws” for information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Angel
      Thu, 16 Jan 2014 at 04:51

      I had lost my bag & phone, the police found it took it to my school (I was absent that day) the on campus officer looked through my text & pictures of me & some friends drinking & smoking (i also had a password of my phone) & won’t give me my phone & claimes it’s evidence now
      Can he do that ?
      Dear Angel: Take a look at your school’s student handbook for what’s called an Acceptable Use Policy. Most schools have these that cover digital devices on campus. If, in fact, your phone contains messages or photos that support criminal activity or evidence that a school rule has been broken, then taking it may be appropriate. Talk with your parents about this. They may want to schedule a meeting with the principal and campus officer to discuss the situation and possible return of your phone. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tonya
      Sat, 01 Feb 2014 at 01:13

      This pertains to a civil child custody case. My ex filed for primary physical custody of our 11 month old son. He gave my attorney printed out screenshots of conversations that incriminate me. We lived together and he took my cell phone from me even though it had a password on it. He now claims to have several texts on the phone about illegal drug use. However, the phone service is in his name. Since the police did not confiscate my phone and it was never in my name can he use these supposed texts against me to gain custody of our son? (He has a history of violence with me and we have a pending court date but that is separate from the custody hearing.)
      Dear Tonya: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teens and the law. Since you have an attorney, talk to him/her about this. The answer to your question may depend on a number of factors including the specific facts and circumstances (whether he is an ex-husband rather than an ex-boyfriend could make a difference) and the laws of your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Perry
      Thu, 17 Apr 2014 at 02:11

      I was curious if its legal for a probation officer can take a juvenile’s electrical possessions, 2 cell phones, 1 ipod touch, 1 xbox 360, etc., without any crime committed or thought of one going to be committed with promission from a parent in the state of michigan in any county?
      Dear Perry: It is possible for a P.O. to search and possibly confiscate electronic devices depending on the terms of probation and the sentence that was imposed. You will need to review the terms of probation. If the juvenile doesn’t have a copy ask for one from the P.O. If you believe the P.O. did not have authority to take the property, you can ask to speak with a supervisor about this. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sharein
      Fri, 09 May 2014 at 11:36

      I live in india.i got a call from a defence officer who is threatning to do sexual talk or if i refuse he will record my all personal calls and then viral that. My question is IS IT POSSIBLE TO RECORD MY CALLS,IF I AM NOT A CRIMINAL OR HE DON’T HAVE ANY SEARCH WARRENT?
      Dear Sharein: In the U.S., typically a person’s phone calls cannot be recorded without a warrant or at least some level of suspicion of criminal activity. You could try contacting a supervisor at the police department to report the officer or contact a local attorney for further information. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jason Tillman
      Sat, 17 May 2014 at 02:59

      I am from Lincolnton N.C. .. I have recently been pulled over for a routine traffic stop, failed to stop for a stop sign. The officer put me in handcuffs and searched me. He pulled an empty baggy from my watch pocket, claiming to have drug residue. Stated that he was going to send it to a lab. He proceeded to write me a ticket for the failure to stop, and seized my 3 day old $200 phone. What are my rights and or options to get my phone released back to me????
      Dear Jason: The police department may be able to hold onto your phone indefinitely while they continue to investigate your case and any possible charges. You can try contacting the police department directly and ask about their policies and procedures and when you can expect to get your phone back. You can also try contacting the property/evidence division of the department. Depending on your state’s laws as well as the specific facts and circumstances, they may be able to search your phone without having a warrant. If you have concerns about the legality of the stop, detention or search, you should contact a local criminal attorney. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • kim
      Mon, 16 Jun 2014 at 07:37

      The police took my phones and are now trying to tell me I’ve had them back which i have not last time i asked which is after the date they said i got them back is there still waiting for them what can i do
      Dear Kim: You can speak with a supervisor and ask to see a signed receipt to support their claim that the phones were returned to you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Trish
      Fri, 20 Jun 2014 at 09:45

      My ex works for the State of CA holing a high position one being a PEACE OFFICER! All through the relationship he tells me he doesn’t trust me.In the very beginning I understood but 6 years later were broke up and he still breaks into my voicemail by looking up my code. He tells me he can find out anything about me if he wanted. I only can assume it is through the state computer and the knowledge he has. Is this abusing his privilege and abusing my Civil Rights?
      Dear Trish: You certainly have the right to privacy and it sounds like he may be violating those rights by getting into your voicemail, etc. Ultimately, it would depend on your state’s laws and you may need to speak with his supervisor or perhaps a different law enforcement agency in your state to find out what laws he may be violating (such as electronic harassment or stalking). You could also try contacting your local prosecuting attorney’s office for more information. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • chris
      Mon, 30 Jun 2014 at 09:15

      i was arrested with possession of THC and the cop took my phone and said they were getting a search warrant for my phone. Do they have a certain amount of time to get a search warrant before I can get my phone back? Also when i was arrested they told me i was getting charged with intent to distribute then when i went to my bond hearing i was charged with possession of THC. Can i still get charged with intent to distribute? i had 48.5 grams of marijuana.
      Dear Chris: Depending on additional evidence that a search uncovers, you could be charged with other crimes. You got a break in being charged with the lesser offense of possession rather than possession with intent to distribute. There’s usually no time limit in an active investigation for the return of property. You can talk with a local defense attorney for more information about this. Take a look at our Resource Directory for lawyers in your area. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Google
      Sun, 06 Jul 2014 at 01:57

      This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something
      which helped me. Thanks!
      Thank you for your comment. -ATJ.info

    • Dan Giammarino
      Wed, 23 Jul 2014 at 05:35

      I was arrested last week and they found nothing on my person not so much as piece of paper that may have contained residue of narcotics…They took three other people to jail including me for suspicion of drug trafficking…I was actually working at the house the police took down…I understand that my statement sounds crazy but it is true…Well They let me out of jail after almost two whole days without any charges and I paid no bond, nor did I have to be seen by a judge…The arresting officer told me that as long as I did not hide from him after my release he would not reintroduce charges…I know what the officer is trying to do, he wants me to supply him with information to strengthen his case against the homeowner and his roommate, but I already told him all I know about what goes on inside the house which is really none of my business anyway as I was sort of like a handymen for the homeowner and outside of house 90 percent of time working on his yard…I never saw any illegal activities going on nor did I ever see any large quantities of drugs being sold through the home…Now the police man wants me to talk with him, and he is using my cell phone as his way of keeping me on the hook… I am not an educated bad guy, and have never been in trouble besides a case from many many years ago in which was expunged as I was offered the first time offenders program that I completed successfully…so do I have to play ball with this officer even though I told him all I know, I know he doesn’t believe me and is trying to get me to talk… If I talked anymore I would be making things up that I think he wants to hear…Can you give me some advice as to how to politely get my phone back, and not upset this officer so that he does not reintroduce charges that would just cause me to spend needless money on a lawyer and the hassle of going through the motions of the legal system? thank you Dan G
      Dear Dan: AsktheJudge.info is a site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We do not provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We suggest you talk with a criminal defense attorney in your area about this. Many offer free initial consultations so ask about this if you call one. You can also look at our Resource Directory for lawyers in your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • bj edwards
      Tue, 29 Jul 2014 at 11:52

      my phone was stolen and my facebook was hacked, while I was out of state working, when I get home, I have a warrant for telephone harassment via facebook. I have had no contact, (physical), nor telephone calls or text messages. what are my legal grounds to stand on in court?
      Dear BJ: You may need to speak with a criminal defense attorney about the charges, the laws in your state and your defense as the case proceeds forward. Depending on the charges, you may be appointed a public defender to represent you. You will find out more when you go to court. You should receive a copy of the police report and the state’s evidence so you know what evidence they may have against you and therefore, you can build your case and defense. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Randy Martineau
      Fri, 15 Aug 2014 at 05:41

      After my god daughter was illegally pulled over , then illegally searched . The police took my emergency life line phone. When I ask for it back , they told me I could’nt have it and that it was evidence , they told me they were trying to get a warrant to search it,note this is my phone for medicle emergencies. Due they have any right to keep my phone,and put my life in grave jeopardy? Also can I file a law suit for invation of privacy . I have not had my phone for 4 months. Should this be considered abuse to a disabled person ? Thanks
      Dear Randy: The police are entitled to collect and keep items they believe may be evidence in a case during an investigation and after charges have been filed. You can call the police department and ask to speak with a supervisor or the property/evidence custodian about this. Since four months have passed, they should have been able to either search the phone by now or not if a warrant was not issued. If there’s information in the phone that is evidence for them to use at trial, they may need to hold onto the phone until the case is closed. Either the prosecuting attorney or a supervisor at the police department should be able to tell you whether or not you can have your phone back at this point. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Trey Hill
      Sun, 17 Aug 2014 at 12:20

      Well, i got caught with sexting with a few girls. and i was just wondering if they would give me my phone after they searched it?
      Dear Trey: It depends on the specific facts as well as the laws in your state. If the police found the pictures on your phone, they could seize it and hold onto it as evidence while the case is pending. You could contact the police department and ask how and when you can get your phone back. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • robert lunsford
      Fri, 22 Aug 2014 at 05:36

      Can an individual look and photograph text messages of a teenagers phone that is owned by his grandma and sent to a third party and forth party to be used in a trial for custody?
      Dear Robert: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teens and the law. What evidence may be admissible at a custody trial depends on the laws in your state as well as the specific facts and circumstances. We suggest you ask one of the attorneys involved in the case or you could consult with any other attorney who practices family law. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • C
      Thu, 04 Sep 2014 at 06:07

      At my school, they’re was an alleged fight that was supposed to happen and the school cop said that he can take my phone to his station and go trough all my messages and get me in trouble for instigating the fight when I had nothing to do w/ it. just because I was passing on messages to each guy. Is it illegal for him to take my cell phone without probable cause or parental consent.
      Dear C: It depends on the rules at your school about cell phones and other devices on campus. Take a look at your Student Handbook and see what it says about this. Typically, teachers, principals and other school administrators need at least “reasonable suspicion” that either a law or school rule has been broken to search a phone or other digital device. Based on a recent Supreme Court case holding that the police need a search warrant before searching a person’s phone, the decision may apply to schools even though the Supreme Court did not say anything about schools and students’ rights. You and your parents may want to schedule a meeting with the principal and/or officer to discuss the situation. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Ashley
      Sun, 21 Sep 2014 at 01:29

      So my best friend got his phone stolen and than found the guy who stole it an got it back than the cops took his phone and now he can’t get it back why is that
      Dear Ashley: It may be because the police need it as evidence of the theft. If the person who stole it is charged with a crime, the police can hold on to it until the case ends. There may be other reasons they’re keeping it, so contact the police or a supervisor and ask. If your best friend is a minor, he should discuss this with his parents. They can contact the police and inquire about the return of the phone. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • MARY
      Tue, 30 Sep 2014 at 12:24

      I live in dallas tx I am married for six year but lived most of my time seprated from my husband for about 6 years it has been a on and off relationship b/c he cheated on me with my cusin… he recently found I was dated a guy and went crazy over the fact that I would not let him see his kids and wanted a divorce… we sent me a txt message showing me gun and telling me to watch my back b/c hes kids where going to be left with out a mother… I called the police filed a report they said it was called family violence even though he did not put hes hands on me at all… what will happen next … I really would like to drop the charges b/c I know nothing will happen he just said out of anger… now he is begging to come back.. will the state allow me to drop the charges.
      Dear Mary: You can ask the prosecutor to drop the charges and explain that you no longer want the prosecution to go forward. However, it’s up to the prosecutor handling the case. Even if you want the charges dropped, he/she may want to continue prosecuting the case. Perhaps you can ask for a meeting with the prosecutor so you can explain where you stand. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • justine
      Thu, 09 Oct 2014 at 07:02

      I leave in Denver the cops came in my house and they had a s w they did not have one for me they went though my purse’s and took my money and phone did they have that right to take my stuff??
      Dear Justine: Without knowing all of the facts and specific laws that apply to your situation, we can’t say if what was done was legal or not. Plus we don’t provide legal advice to our readers – only information. If you are charged with a crime, discuss this with your lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jake Jefferson
      Sun, 12 Oct 2014 at 05:52

      Okay, so I got in trouble at school for selling a kid an eighth of weed. I didn’t get the money and I wouldn’t snitch on my supplier. How likely is it they go through my old phone records? I have not been formally arrested and I’m under the age of 18. What’s going to happen?
      Dear Jake: As you know, anything is possible. Under the laws in your state, the police may ask to search your phone for evidence purposes, or they can ask a court for a search warrant to do the same. We suggest you talk with your parents about this so they can prepare for any further investigation. One way or the other, they’ll find out about this anyway. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • joshua
      Tue, 18 Nov 2014 at 09:24

      when the cops do an investigation in my house do they have the right to take my phone? and also when they are doing an investigation in my house do I have the right to record it.
      Dear Joshua: If the police consider your phone as evidence in their investigation, yes, they can take it until the case is completed. As far as you recording their conduct in your home, if they let you do so, then there’s no problem. However, if they tell you to stop or not to do it, it’s best to follow their orders. Otherwise, you could face a charge of disobeying an order of a police officer. Discuss this with your parents. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ty
      Sat, 22 Nov 2014 at 05:46

      A nude pic was sent to my phone by another student my dad took the phone and showed it to the police they have the phone its my phone I bought it with my money I pay the bill but I’m still under age how do ibvet my phone back
      Dear Ty: The police can take your phone and hold onto it while they are investigating a case. If charges end up being filed, they may hold onto it while the case is pending in court. You and/or your parents can try contacting a supervisor at the police department to find out more about their policies and when you can expect to have your phone returned. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

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