blog home Traffic Stops Can the Police Search My Cell Phone After a Traffic Stop?

Can the Police Search My Cell Phone After a Traffic Stop?

By San Diego Attorney on January 15, 2016

Your Rights After Being Pulled Over

At some point in your life, you will probably be pulled over in a traffic stop if you drive. Do you know what your rights are? After being pulled over for a traffic stop, it is crucial that you know your rights! You are protected from unlawful searches and seizures in such instances. If a police officer asks to see your phone, you need to be aware of your legal rights.

Law enforcement must have one of the following:

  • Your consent
  • A judge-issued warrant

Why You Need to Protect Your Phone

As technology continues to develop, cell phones have become more than just a tool for communication—they store nearly just as much personal and private information as someone’s home does. For this reason, police officers cannot simply search your phone without your explicit permission or permission granted through a warrant. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement agencies are not allowed to search an individual’s cell phone without an official warrant issued by a judge or the consent of the individual.

What does this mean for you? If any information is obtained illegally from your phone, prosecutors cannot use any of this evidence in court to build a case against you. This is protection provided by the Fourth Amendment, ensuring you have a fair trial.


Don’t forget—you have the right to refuse a search of your cell phone or vehicle whenever being pulled over in a traffic stop.


What to Do in a Traffic Stop

When you are pulled over by law enforcement, it is important to remain calm, hand over you license and registration, and then keep your hands on the steering wheel. Even if police officers are intimidating or aggressive, remain polite.

If an officer asks to search your cell phone, you may refuse. If you consent to one, the police can search your phone without a warrant and use any obtained evidence against you. That is why it is very crucial to exercise your rights to protect your private information. When you don’t consent to a search, police will have to drop the matter or obtain a warrant, which usually isn’t granted unless the officer has substantial reason to request it.

Protect your privacy by knowing your rights and exercising them. For more information, contact JD Law today to speak with a San Diego criminal defense attorney.

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Posted in: Traffic Stops

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A note from James N. Dicks:

Although COVID-19 has caused great uncertainty, we want to assure that our firm is operating remotely to accommodate all current, past, and future clients in need of any of our services. The best way to communicate with us is by telephone (760) 630-2000 or email info@jdlaw.law.

Currently San Diego Superior Courts are closed but are set to reopen on Tuesday May 26th, 2020 barring any
future orders.

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Sending our thoughts and best wishes to you and your family. Please follow us on Facebook for any future updates.


Aunque COVID-19 ha causado una gran incertidumbre, queremos asegurarles que nuestra oficina esta operando de forma remota para todos los clientes actuales, pasados y futuros que necesiten alguno de nuestros servicios. La mejor manera de comunicarse con nosotros es por teléfono (760) 630-2000 o por correo electrónico a info@jdlaw.law.

Los Tribunales Superiores de San Diego están cerrados, pero están programados para reabrir el martes 26 de mayo de 2020, salvo una nueva orden.

No dude en contactarnos si tiene alguna pregunta. Estamos enviando nuestros pensamientos y mejores deseos para usted y su familia. Síganos en Facebook para seguir siendo informado de novedades nuevas.


James N. Dicks
jD LAW, P.C.

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COVID-19 Announcement

Although COVID-19 has caused great uncertainty, we want to assure that our firm is operating remotely to accommodate all current, past, and future clients in need of any of our services. The best way to communicate with us is by telephone (760) 630-2000 or email info@jdlaw.law. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Sending our thoughts and best wishes to you and your family.


Aunque COVID-19 ha causado una gran incertidumbre, queremos asegurarles que nuestra oficina esta operando de forma remota para todos los clientes actuales, pasados y futuros que necesiten alguno de nuestros servicios. La mejor manera de comunicarse con nosotros es por teléfono (760) 630-2000 o por correo electrónico a info@jdlaw.law. No dude en contactarnos si tiene alguna pregunta. Estamos enviando nuestros pensamientos y mejores deseos para usted y su familia.

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