Nashua, NH Attorney Katherine J. Morneau

Attorney Katherine Morneau

“Can the police search my cell phone?” is a question we are often asked by our clients.  This is a new topic that is being discussed throughout the country.  It has now been decided in New Hampshire with a new law.

New Cell Phone Search by Police Law

On July 11, 2014, Governor Maggie Hassan signed House Bill 1533 into law.  The new law requires that the police obtain a search warrant before looking at your cell phone.  This also includes tablets and other portable devices.  The law defines portable electronic device as any portable device that is capable of creating, receiving, accessing, or storing election data or communications, including but not limited to cell phones.

Consequence of Cell Phone Search by Police Without Warrant

The law makes clear that evidence obtained without the proper search warrant will not be allowed.  This includes in a criminal, civil, administrative, or other proceeding.  The law also lets someone injured by the police as a result of an illegal search to sue for damages.

What you can do

Police must obtain a search warrant unless there is a legally-recognized exception.  If the police ask if they can search your cell phone you have the right to say “no.”  They cannot search your cell phone without a warrant.  If your cell phone or other device has been searched by police without a warrant and you are now facing criminal charges—you should consult with an attorney immediately to see if this law applies to your case.  An attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without a conviction.  Call us for a free consultation: (603) 943-5647.

Elizabeth handles criminal defense cases, family law cases and estate planning.

Elizabeth handles criminal defense cases, family law cases and estate planning.