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Roger
Roger, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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i need to know if the police can confiscate my cell phone wi

Customer Question

i need to know if the police can confiscate my cell phone with out a warrant . Or with out arresting me. I also need to know if there is a amunity law for a witness that was part of the some crime.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

The general rule is that law enforcement must have a warrant for search an seizure of property. However, there are several exceptions to this rule.

 

These include:

 

  • Consent. If agents ask if they can search your house, office, car, or even your pockets, and you say "yes," they can search it without a warrant. And, any evidence of a crime or contraband can be seized and used against you in court. As a general rule, children and minors can't give the agents consent to search your home or office. Also, if you have a roommate or share an office, she may give the police permission to search the common areas, like the kitchen or reception area, but she can't give consent to search your personal space, such as your bedroom or private office. To be on the safe side, if you have a roommate, house guest or tenant, or a co-worker, tell him that she can't give the police consent to search your private areas
  • Search incident to arrest: If you're being arrested, the police may search you and the immediate area surrounding you for weapons or contraband. That includes your car (except the trunk), but if they have probable cause to believe that the trunk contains evidence of a crime or contraband, they may search it. Also, if you're being arrested inside your home, they may make a "protective sweep" of the house to make sure there's no one there that poses a threat to the officers or other persons in the house
  • Exigent circumstances: These are situations where there's no time to get a warrant because there's an immediate threat or danger of someone getting hurt or the destruction of evidence. For example, if police officers are chasing a suspect in a bank robbery and he runs into your house, they may enter and search the house for the suspect without a warrant
  • Plain view. If agents are in a place lawfully, they may seize any evidence of a crime or contraband without a warrant so long as it's in "plain view." For example, if you call the police to report acts of vandalism done to your home and, while the officer is on your property she notices marijuana growing in your garden, she may seize the plants without a warrant
  • Airport and border searches. To protect the public at large, agents may search you and your luggage for contraband and weapons without a warrant while you're in an airport or a border crossing. Border searches are either "routine" or "non-routine." Routine searches can be done regardless of whether agents suspect you of committing a crime. Using x-ray machines to examine the contents of your luggage or even opening your bags are routine searches. Non-routine searches require that agents have a "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity. Non-routine searches include strip and cavity searches
  • Stop and frisk . If an agent has a reasonable suspicion that: (1) you're engaged in or about to engage in criminal activity, and; (2) you have a weapon, and; (3) you pose an immediate threat to the officer or to the public at large, the officer may stop or "detain" you and conduct a "pat-down search" (or "frisk") to determine if in fact you're carrying a weapon. If the officer feels something in your pocket or clothing that he reasonably believes is a weapon, he may reach into your pocket or clothing and seize the item
  • Inventory searches. If your car is impounded, agents may search the entire car, including the trunk, for the purpose of inventorying its contents. This is done to protect: (1) Your property while it's in police custody; (2) The police from claims of lost property, and; (3) The police from threats posed by dangerous materials in the car

http://criminal.lawyers.com/Criminal-Law-Basics/What-Is-a-Search-Warrant-and-When-Is-One-Needed.html?page=2

 

If one of these exceptions don't apply to your situatioin, your property cannot be taken without a warrant.

 

A witness should has immunity to being charged with a crime if he/she was only a witness.

Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

The general rule is that law enforcement must have a warrant for search an seizure of property. However, there are several exceptions to this rule.

 

These include:

 

  • Consent. If agents ask if they can search your house, office, car, or even your pockets, and you say "yes," they can search it without a warrant. And, any evidence of a crime or contraband can be seized and used against you in court. As a general rule, children and minors can't give the agents consent to search your home or office. Also, if you have a roommate or share an office, she may give the police permission to search the common areas, like the kitchen or reception area, but she can't give consent to search your personal space, such as your bedroom or private office. To be on the safe side, if you have a roommate, house guest or tenant, or a co-worker, tell him that she can't give the police consent to search your private areas
  • Search incident to arrest: If you're being arrested, the police may search you and the immediate area surrounding you for weapons or contraband. That includes your car (except the trunk), but if they have probable cause to believe that the trunk contains evidence of a crime or contraband, they may search it. Also, if you're being arrested inside your home, they may make a "protective sweep" of the house to make sure there's no one there that poses a threat to the officers or other persons in the house
  • Exigent circumstances: These are situations where there's no time to get a warrant because there's an immediate threat or danger of someone getting hurt or the destruction of evidence. For example, if police officers are chasing a suspect in a bank robbery and he runs into your house, they may enter and search the house for the suspect without a warrant
  • Plain view. If agents are in a place lawfully, they may seize any evidence of a crime or contraband without a warrant so long as it's in "plain view." For example, if you call the police to report acts of vandalism done to your home and, while the officer is on your property she notices marijuana growing in your garden, she may seize the plants without a warrant
  • Airport and border searches. To protect the public at large, agents may search you and your luggage for contraband and weapons without a warrant while you're in an airport or a border crossing. Border searches are either "routine" or "non-routine." Routine searches can be done regardless of whether agents suspect you of committing a crime. Using x-ray machines to examine the contents of your luggage or even opening your bags are routine searches. Non-routine searches require that agents have a "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity. Non-routine searches include strip and cavity searches
  • Stop and frisk . If an agent has a reasonable suspicion that: (1) you're engaged in or about to engage in criminal activity, and; (2) you have a weapon, and; (3) you pose an immediate threat to the officer or to the public at large, the officer may stop or "detain" you and conduct a "pat-down search" (or "frisk") to determine if in fact you're carrying a weapon. If the officer feels something in your pocket or clothing that he reasonably believes is a weapon, he may reach into your pocket or clothing and seize the item
  • Inventory searches. If your car is impounded, agents may search the entire car, including the trunk, for the purpose of inventorying its contents. This is done to protect: (1) Your property while it's in police custody; (2) The police from claims of lost property, and; (3) The police from threats posed by dangerous materials in the car

http://criminal.lawyers.com/Criminal-Law-Basics/What-Is-a-Search-Warrant-and-When-Is-One-Needed.html?page=2

 

If one of these exceptions don't apply to your situatioin, your property cannot be taken without a warrant.

 

A witness should has immunity to being charged with a crime if he/she was only a witness.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
what if i was in the car when someone was pulled over . and the police found suspicuse content in the car . Do they have the right to search me and take my cell phone and other items for evidence that were in my pocket.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
what if i was in the car when someone was pulled over . and the police found suspicuse content in the car . Do they have the right to search me and take my cell phone and other items for evidence that were in my pocket.
Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

If there is probable cause, yes, the authorities can do this. Probable cause is simply a reasonable suspicion of the officer that a crime has been committed, he/she has the right to confiscate property as evidence.

 

It's possible that you can get these things back after the investigation is complete - if it is found that these items are not evidence.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

ok thank u ! i do have another Question if u dont mind answering my e-mail is inkontroltattosmp @yahoo. com would like to know things purchaced with a stolen credit card and i had one of those things what kind of charge would they be able to charge me with.

 

Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

You could be charged with possession of the stolen property, or if they can prove that you actually used the card to purchase the property, you can be charged with credit card fraud, which is a Class 6 felony. Here's the law: http://law.justia.com/virginia/codes/2006/toc1802000/18.2-195.html

 

The punishment for Class 6 felonies is a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than five years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.



Edited by Kirk Adams on 12/7/2010 at 5:04 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

how can they prove that i was aware that it was stolen. Because in i am correctt u can not be charged with possion of stolen proprty unless they can show evidence that u was aware that it was stolen

 

 

Expert:  Roger replied 6 years ago.

Yes, you're correct. You have to have knowledge that the property you received/are in possession of was actually stolen. If you didn't know it was stolen, you should not be convicted - but you still may be arrested and charged until it is established that you didn't know.