5th District Court of Appeals Says Florida Police May Search Cell Phones Without A Warrant

Jacksonville’s citizens have for some time communicated with each other using cell phones. As safe as one might feel in communicating messages in private via a cell phone, that privacy is changing. As the State courts and Supreme Court interpret the laws of the land, one must know one’s rights and what the police can search. One in a situation like this should obtain an experienced attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights are known and protected.

According to First Coast News, the 5th District Court of Appeals ruled in Florida v. Ricardo Glasco that law enforcement can search a cell phone without a warrant. In the battle over privacy versus public safety, the police now have the right to enter into one’s phone and search the contents within it, possibly leading to evidence being admitted for another criminal charge. imagescellphone.jpg

Jacksonville drug crimes typically involve an individual who is dealing drugs in small amounts to friends or neighbors. Most of the time, those kinds of operations are not too complicated. However, when drug sales leave trails via phone, internet or other means, the possibility of getting caught goes up considerably as well as the amount of evidence that may now be used to convict someone of the charge.

This particular case came on appeal to the 5th District after Ricardo Glasco was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, possession of marijuana, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia. After Glasco was handcuffed, the police searched him and discovered his cell phone. Glasco was transported to the police station, where officers conducted a further search of the cell phone while he was being processed into the jail. Text messages retrieved from the cell phone revealed that Glasco had cocaine he intended to sell.

In this case, at no point did the arresting officer obtain a search warrant to view the contents of the cell phone. When a police officer has fear that evidence will be destroyed, the officer may seize the evidence without a warrant. However, in this case, the arresting officer had no fear that any evidence on the cell phone would be destroyed once Glasco was handcuffed.

A police officer has the right to search open containers on one’s person. According to the 5th Circuit’s opinion, a cell phone will now be viewed in the same way as any other open container, as it is a case that may hold within it evidence of a crime.

Fortunately, one does not have to fight the battle for one’s freedom alone. If one obtains an experienced Jacksonville drug crimes defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights are protected, one can be sure that one will know one’s rights, know what the prosecution and police have access to, and will be able to make sure that wrongfully obtained evidence will not be used against one.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source:Florida appeals court rules that police can search cell phones without warrant, Ken Amaro, First Coast News