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Phone privacy is a right to be preserved by Virginia criminal defendants

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Phone privacy for Virginia criminal defendants- Phone photo

Phone privacy is available for Virginia criminal defendants to secure or squander

Phone privacy is critical to criminal defendants and everyone else. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know the thirst that law enforcement has for seizing and searching people’s cellphones, to investigate such alleged criminal activity as drug dealing, child pornography, and large-scale theft. Do not get caught in that police trap. Even if you think you have nothing to hide, you honor privacy rights by refusing to cede an inch of your cellphone privacy. Moreover, if you have ever let someone else use your phone — even if but for a moment — that is a long enough time for the other person even unwittingly to get you connected with allegedly criminal activity.

What do I do when the police officer asks to see my cellphone, or ask for my password?

Police thirst to search people’s cellphones, in part hoping to bypass password and other phone privacy protection for today’s cellphone technology. As with any police encounter, you have the right to decline talking with the police, which includes telling the police nothing about your cellphone. Declining to speak with the police is as simple as saying “No.”

What is a bypass approach that police use to seek backdoor access around phone privacy?

Police know that a cellphone cannot be searched without seizing the phone, and accessing the data therein, working around phone privacy. Police know that many people use multilayered security approaches to block people from their cellphone data, through such approaches as using combinations of such factors as protection via password and facial recognition. Knowing this, police love when an arrested suspect asks to use his or her cellphone to call a friend or family member to let them know the suspect’s whereabouts, or to ask the friend or family member to obtain a lawyer for them or to pick them up. Commonly the police will refuse to let the suspect touch their phone functions. beyond unlocking the cellphone to enable the outgoing phone call. Once the phone is unlocked, the police will endeavor to keep it unlocked while waiting to obtain a search and seizure warrant for the phone.

What are my privacy rights in my cellphone?

The U.S. Supreme Court gives us extensive phone privacy rights, by generally barring police from accessing our cellphone data unless we consent to such access or  unless police obtain a search warrant — supported by probable cause — to access our phone data. Consequently — as with declining other types of police searches — it is fully honorable and vital for us to decline police seizures and searches of our cellphones, and to decline to provide police with assistance nor codes for them to access that data.

Do I risk punishment if I refuse to help police unlock my cellphone data?

We never violate the law when lawfully asserting our Constitutional rights, including with our phone privacy. If a judge or judicial officer orders us to provide police the password to our cellphone or computer, or to otherwise help police access our data therein, ideally we will obtain a lawyer to immediately challenge such an order, regardless of the outcome of that challenge.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz knows that effective defense against Virginia DUI, felony & misdemeanor prosecutions calls for a thorough and persuasive courtroom and pretrial approach. Learn the critical defensive difference that Jon Katz can make for your court-pending case by scheduling a free in-person consultation, at 703-383-1100.