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A Criminal Defense Law Firm

Know Your Rights: Drivers Hand Over Phone to Police in Routine Traffic Stop

iphone passcodeWhile growing up, most of us were told to always obey authority. If someone of authority, whether it was a parent, teacher, or police officer told you to do something, you were supposed to do it.

When you see those blue flashing lights behind you and you are pulled over, most people are going to feel nervous, whether or not they are doing something wrong. This gut-wrenching feeling gives the officer leverage to take advantage of the situation and perhaps coerce you to consent to something you wouldn’t normally consent to.

Due to the texting and driving laws put in place in 2010, frequent stops are being made to combat this violation. “The law prohibits drivers from using a cell phone, text messaging device, personal digital assistant (PDA), computer, or similar wireless device to write, send, or read text data while driving.” During these stops, an officer might ask to see your phone to check for recent texts. http://www.drivinglaws.org/georgia.php

Last Spring, the United States Supreme Court ruled that police must have a search warrant to see what is on your phone, unless the owner consents to a search. While it is common knowledge that an officer needs a warrant to search your home, it is not well known that this law applies to your cell phone. An individual driving through Snellville stated: “I handed it over to him, cause that’s what I thought I was supposed to do,” said Jonathan Wicknig. http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/know-your-rights-drivers-willingly-hand-over-incri/nk8RP/

Most drivers either do not know, or are too nervous to refuse an officer’s request to search their phone during a traffic stop. In Snellville, police recorded several interactions of them asking drivers to look through their phone to see if they had been texting. Not one person refused the request.

The Semrau Law Firm has handled cases involving this law. One of our clients was involved in an accident where they were looking at their phone. The individual saw that they received a text message. He looked at the phone briefly and looked back up at the road. Just before him was an overturned car. Our client hit the breaks but ended up running into a man that was out of his car at the scene. He died as a result. Our client was charged with vehicular homicide and texting while driving.

Scott challenged the texting while driving law and was able to get his client 12-months probation and he didn’t even lose his license! This fiasco could have turned out to be a nightmare for our client. Instead, Scott was able to provide quality legal assistance and saved him a world of hurt. Our firm handles many cases involving texting and driving. If you are charged with a texting while driving or similar offense, give us a call!

One Response to “Know Your Rights: Drivers Hand Over Phone to Police in Routine Traffic Stop”

  1. Tom Harding says:

    Thank you! I did not know this.

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