Supreme Court Limits Police Searches of Cellphones

By Marilyn Miller

The United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously recently that police can not search the contents of a cellphone seized during an arrest, unless they get a
warrant. The Court held that such warrantless searches violate the Fourth Amendment which prohibits the Government from engaging in unreasonable searches and seizures.
The Court reasoned that cellphones are minicomputers that hold vast amounts of personal data. Such devices are different from physical objects police are allowed to seize without a warrant in searches incident to arrest.

In the two cases addressed by the Supreme Court, Riley v. California attracted the most scrutiny. Riley was stopped by police for expired registration tags and it was determined that his license was suspended. In such a situation, police may legally search a person as well as the area within his immediate control without probable cause when a search is “incident to arrest”. This exception arises to ensure the safety of the officer and to prevent the possible destruction of evidence of crime.

Police then searched Riley incident to his arrest and seized his cellphone from his pocket. Thereafter, the police examined the contents of the phone and found evidence of Riley’s membership in a street gang. This evidence lead to additional charges filed in connection with an earlier shooting.

In this case, it was apparent that the warrantless exception to searches did not apply. It was not needed to protect the officer or to preserve evidence. The Court noted the distinguishing features of the modern cellphone are their immense storage capacity and the personal information they contain in digital format. The Court held that it is just this kind of private information the Fourth Amendment was designed to protect.
The result in Riley was that the search was illegal and the evidence obtained was excluded from the jury’s consideration under the Exclusionary Rule. The exclusion of this kind of evidence would usually result in making it impossible for the Government to prove the charges which was the outcome of Riley’s case as to the gang-related charges. The only evidence left against Riley was the driving while license suspended charge which could be pursued.

Given the great prevalence of cellphones today, this case has particular significance to individuals charged with serious criminal offenses including driving under the influence or DUI where the suspect is carrying a cellphone which may be accessible to police who are conducting a search upon the arrest of that person.

Homicide Charges Against Drug Dealers

The much-publicized recent death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has raised the question:  Can a drug dealer be charged with homicide?  Yes, drug dealers can be charged with homicide, although prosecutors rarely bring drug-induced homicide charges against drug dealers.  A recent analyis by The Chicago Tribune found that, despite the large increase in heroin deaths in Chicago and the Chicago suburbs, Chicago area prosecutors rarely charge drug dealers with drug-induced homicide.  Get the full story at here:,0,5186548.story?track=rss

Chicago Man Charged with Aggravated DUI In Christmas Eve Crash That Killed Daughter

According to The Chicago Tribune, a Chicago man from the Englewood neighborhood has been charged with aggravated DUI following the Christmas Eve crash that killed his 8-year-old daughter:,0,2070945.story

Suburban Chicago Police Chief’s Plan to Tweet Names of DUI Suspects on Hold

Riverside police chief’s plan to tweet the names of those arrested for DUI has been put on hold due to public reaction to the plan.   The information Chief Tom Weitzel would tweet is all publicly accessible.  However, according to CBS Chicago news, Weitzel says he is holding off tweeting offenders’ names, pending a legal opinion he’s requested from the Attorney General.  Get the full story here:

How much does an Illinois Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device Cost?

DuPage County DUI lawyer Marilyn A. Miller wants you to know the consequences of a DUI charge or conviction in Illinois.  For example, how much does a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device  or BAIID cost in Illinois?  Illinois DUI law provides that the Offender will have to pay the following fees for the BAIID:

1.  Installation fee is approx. $100 (paid to the vendor they choose)

2. Monthly rental of the device $80 approx. (paid to the vendor they choose)

3.  Monthly monitoring fee $30 (paid to the Sec. Of State for the monthly monitoring of the device).

If you are charged with DUI in Illinois, call DuPage County DUI lawyer Marilyn A. Miller at 630-424-8816.

Illinois DUI Arrests

Illinois DUI Arrests by City

Curious about Illinois DUI arrests and what Illinois cities have the most DUI arrests?  Wheaton DUI Lawyer Marilyn A. Miller says do not drink and drive.  According to recently released information by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM), the Chicago suburbs with the most DUI arrests are Naperville, Carol Stream, Aurora and Elmhurst.  Check out the complete list of Illinois police departments with the most Illinois DUI arrests courtesy of AAIM:

Therefore, do not drink and drive . . . especially, in these Illinois cities. For more info regarding DUI, visit Wheaton DUI Lawyer.

Chicago DUI Lawyer