Supreme Court: Warrant Required for Cell Phone Location Data

Posted on in Search Warrant

Illionois defense attorney, Illinois federal crimes lawyer, Illinois criminal defense lawyerThe Supreme Court recently handed down a decision that has been considered a win for those accused of crimes. In Carpenter v. United States, the high court ruled that in order for a government entity such as the police to get cell phone location records a warrant is required in most cases.

Prior to this ruling, the government could review any citizen’s cell phone location records simply by stating to the cell phone carrier that the information was needed for an investigation.

The information at issue is data kept by cell phone companies that can prove where the cell phone was at any given time. Phone companies can tell where a cell phone is by using GPS data or cell site location information (CSLI). CSLI can only record the general area a cell phone is in based on which cell towers are being used by the phone.

The decision in Carpenter is closely related to the Supreme Court’s decision in Riley v. California. In that case, the court held that the search of a cell phone without a warrant is generally unconstitutional. The court noted that cell phones can hold large amounts of data and are thus different from landline phones.

Taken together, this means that cellphones are afforded protection from searches by government entities unless it can be shown to a neutral third party that there is a reasonable probability cellphone contains evidence of a crime.

Contact Chicago, IL Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Warrants are provided for in the Bill of Rights and are a key protection U.S. citizens have from intrusions by the government. The law surrounding warrants has been evolving for decades. Thus, there are many laws that may affect the validity of the issuance and execution of the warrant in your criminal case.

An experienced Chicago, IL criminal defense lawyer will examine the facts of your case and determine if police acted in accordance with all applicable law, including cases recently decided by the Supreme Court and the lower courts.

Due to rapidly changing technology, there are new situations that may not be covered by a law or case. In these circumstances, it is your attorney’s job to put forth the best argument possible based on the facts of your case. These are cutting edge issues, and our firm’s attorney has the decades of experience needed to successfully argue them in court.

Call us today at 312-629-0669 to discuss your case.



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