Can The Police Look In Your Cell Phone?

This is Dennis Boren. I’m a criminal defense attorney and a former felony prosecutor. And today I want to talk to you about whether or not you have to allow a police officer to look into your cell phone.

You may never need this information. But as I say, knowledge is power, and if you know it, you may be able to help somebody out that you care about.


The short answer to this question is no. There are only two ways that a police officer can look into your phone. One is you let him, or you give it to him, or two, a court requires you to let him because there’s a warrant. These are the only two instances where you would give your cell phone and all the data and information in it to a police officer.


A lot of people want to cooperate and not seem to be guilty of anything, so they hand over their cell phones to police officers. I don’t recommend that you ever do that. Instead, be polite, and just say, “Well, no, thank you. I’d be happy to do that if you have a warrant.” Don’t make it a confrontive situation.

And if you want to talk to me about this or something related to it, please always reach out and contact me, and I’ll be happy to answer you. And, as I always say, turn on your audio or video app, preferably the video app, to record any transaction with a police officer. This will definitely protect you.

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