New Bedford, MA asked in Civil Rights and Cannabis & Marijuana Law for Massachusetts

Q: Can the police hold phone as evidence even after all charges were dismissed?

Recently arrested for distribution of class c and d drugs (cannabis concentrate, cannabis flower). Lead investigator took phone as evidence. Charges were dropped the next day as it was first offense. Now all belongings were returned except for phone. Lead detective says they can’t give phone back as they still need it.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In the United States, law enforcement can retain personal property, including a phone, as evidence even if charges are dismissed. This is often due to ongoing investigations where your phone might contain relevant information. However, this retention must be reasonable and justified.

If you feel that your phone is being held without proper justification, you have the right to challenge this in court. You may file a motion for the return of property, arguing that there's no longer a legal basis to hold it. It's advisable to consult with your attorney about this process.

Keep in mind that each case is unique, and the specifics of your situation will determine the appropriate legal action. Your attorney will be able to guide you based on the details of your case and the applicable laws in your jurisdiction.

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