Ruling requires police get a warrant to search your mobile - Tucson News Now

Ruling requires police get a warrant to search your mobile

The Supreme Court has made a major ruling involving your privacy. The high court says if police want to search your cell phone, they need to get a warrant.  Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the unanimous opinion on cell phones. He said "With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life."

The court rejected a claim by the Obama administration and other groups, saying cell phone searches weren't any different than police frisking you, which they don't need a warrant to do.

If police arrest you and seize your phone, the ruling makes it a must for police to have a search warrant before going through all that personal information on your phone.
 
The supreme court ruled cell phones do not fall into the same category as wallets, briefcases, and vehicles.  Generally these searches are legal if there is "probable cause" a crime has been committed.  
 
Since phones contain so much information, they are now in the same category as someone's residence, where a warrant is needed.
 
Privacy advocates are hailing the ruling as a landmark.  One local attorney we spoke with says the ruling is a critical one to make sure our privacy rights aren't violated.
 
Attorney Paul Gattone said, "There's nothing about a cell phone that presents a danger to them in that instance. They can pat you down for weapons, but there's nothing in a cell phone that if they have you in custody that you will be able to access and destroy."  
 
While some law enforcement agencies across the country feel this ruling could harm some investigations, local authorities say this is a practice they already have in place.  We spoke with the Pima County Sheriff's Department and they say they already obtain search warrants before searching cell phones. 
 

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