Before police are allowed to search your cell phone, they must first obtain a search warrant from a judge based on a probable cause determination. The probable cause requirement means that there must be a fair probability that evidence of a crime will be found in the contents of the cell phone. In other words, there must be a sufficient “nexus” between the suspected criminal activity and your phone. A judge will review a search warrant affidavit when deciding whether or not to issue the cell phone search warrant.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will need to review the search warrant affidavit to determine whether or not a sufficient nexus exists between the contents of the cell phone to be seized and searched by police and the suspected crime. For example, if there is probable cause to believe a suspect’s cell phone was used to photograph large amounts of cash next to controlled substances in his home, the court would likely find a nexus between the suspected crime of drug dealing and the dealer’s cell phone. In a recent Minnesota Court of Appeals decision, the conviction was reversed as the prosecution had failed to establish a sufficient nexus between the alleged crime and the contents of the phone. http://www.mncourts.gov/mncourtsgov/media/Appellate/Court%20of%20Appeals/Standard%20opinions/OPa170834-050718.pdf
If the police have obtained incriminating evidence from your cell phone, call me now for a free consultation at (612) 339-1024.