I’m seeing this a good bit lately, so I figured I’d put this out there as a public service announcement. Here’s the scenario:
Person gets arrested for possession of some illegal drug. Cocaine, pills, whatever. Sometimes it’s only a misdemeanor amount of marijuana. Officers then grab the person’s cell phone and begin looking through the text messages. Officers find a text message or fifteen that look like drug deals being set up. Person is then charged with possession with the intent to distribute making the charge much, much more serious.
Now, in the above scenario, the officer will, without fail, testify under oath that the person he arrested gave him permission to search that cell phone. And unfortunately a lot of times, the officer will be telling the truth.
So here’s what you, John Q. Public, should do. First, don’t break the law by possessing or selling drugs. But if you’re going to, please don’t talk about said drugs via text message. And if you can’t manage to do that, make sure you have a password on your phone that prevents Officer Busybody from digging around on your phone without your consent or a warrant. And never give that officer permission to search your phone.
Remember: A lot of men and women have died to secure your rights against self-incrimination. Please respect them and utilize it.