Can Law Enforcement Seize My Phone in Montana?

Our lives are pretty much wrapped up in our technology toys called cell phones these days.  I mean, do you even know a telephone number off the top of your head right now?  It doesn't matter if it is personal or business.  You can literally find out everything you need to know about someone simply by having access to their phone.

But what about law enforcement?  Do they have the right to scroll through your phone looking for incriminating evidence against you?

The ACLU of Montana and The Supreme Court Have Spoke

No.  Technically the officer cannot simply grab your phone and start going through it.  In a ruling dating back to September of 2022, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that:

courts must interpret state and federal privacy protections to limit the disclosure of vast amounts of digital data contained on electronic devices

Essentially, that means without a proper warrant, an officer has no right to rummage through your personal phone.

The American Civil Liberties Union also stated that:

[a] smartphone is a palm-sized portal into an individual’s personal life,’ which may contain up to ‘250,000 personal photos’ and information about a person’s ‘health and activity, dating, video streaming, mobile shopping, banking, and password storage.


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Protecting Our Rights Should Always Be at the Forefront

All in all, this is a law that needs to be there to protect us.  Not that I am doing nefarious things in my life that would require me to use a cell phone illegally, or engage in illegal activity, but I certainly don't need them seeing my photos or internet history either.

What about you?  Would you willingly hand over your phone to be looked through by an officer?  Let us know in our comments section of social media, through our appchat feature or with an email to us here.

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