Do Denver police have a right to search my phone?
Denver, CO – People store their most important information on their cell phones these days. Smartphones are also a great tool to document police brutality incidents. Denver police know that and they are never happy to see people taking out their phones to record them. There have been many cases where Colorado law enforcement agents tried to take people’s phones away from them. Is this legal? Can Denver police search my phone or force me to give them my password?
Read on to see what knowledgeable Denver police misconduct lawyers have to say on the subject.
Can the police stop me and search my phone?
This can be tricky. Colorado police have a right to stop and question you at any time. However, in most cases, you don’t have to stop or answer any questions. If the police have no actual reason to think you’ve committed a crime, your refusal to answer questions doesn’t give them the right to arrest or search you.
According to the law, police can stop and search you only if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect you may be about to commit a crime or you’re in possession of stolen property, illegal drugs, or weapons.
What about your phone? The answer is No, they don’t have the right to take your phone, much less search through it. They can search your phone only if they obtain a warrant or you give them permission. Don’t let them bully you into saying yes.
If they do search your phone without a warrant or you consented under duress, you have the right to file a complaint for police misconduct. Your Colorado police brutality lawyers will explain the procedure to follow.
Can the police force me to give them my password?
If you are arrested, the police must read you your Miranda rights, including the part that says “you have the right to remain silent”. This includes not telling them your password. Use your right to remain silent and wait for your lawyers.
There are, however, exceptions to the rule. If you are being investigated for sexual offenses against children or terrorist activities, law enforcement agents can ask anything they want.
What type of information can be used against me?
You may be surprised by the sheer amount of data that you have on your phone or laptop. Smartphones are not just phones, they’re also mini-computers, cameras, calendars, recorders, notes, and albums.
Once the police have access to your phone, they can learn everything about you from the videos you’ve been watching online to what made you argue with your ex. They can see who you’ve been talking to and when.
Your location data can help them place you at the scene of a crime. Keep in mind that Google remembers where you were on a Friday night six months ago and how much time you spent there. Also, photos you took care to delete from your phone can still be found in Google photos and they may be used to incriminate you.
If you were involved in a police misconduct incident, you should contact an experienced civil rights lawyer at the Bryan&Terrill law firm in Denver to help you file a lawsuit.
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