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
William F Sulton
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Milwaukee, 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

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.