Appleton, WI asked in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Wisconsin

Q: How long can the police have my phone without a warrant?

My phone was seized without a warrant on November 13th 2017 the investigating officer came into the neighboring county (where I live and work) informed me I wasn't under arrest and I could go back to work whenever. After accusing me of something I didn't do I told him I was done talking he then demanded and seized my phone saying it was evidence even after I said no. He told me he was going to get a warrant to search it and demanded my passcode. Only being 19 and never in trouble with the law, I cracked and gave it to him (my passcode). I have been tracking my phone online and it hasn't been turned on since he took it. So I know he never got a warrant. How long can he have my Phone as "evidence" did he need a warrant to take it? He never Gave me a property receipt or anything stating he had my phone and 968.18 states he should. Is this a violation of my 4th amendment? How long does he have to get a search warrant? I'm still paying for the phone bill.

1 Lawyer Answer

William F Sulton Esq.

Answered
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Waukesha, WI
  • Licensed in Wisconsin

A: You should file a petition for the return of the phone under Section 968.20 of the Wisconsin Statutes. It is unclear whether there is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. You were told that you were not under arrest and voluntarily handed the phone over. You should have said no.

1 user found this answer helpful

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