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Can police hold your phone until they get search warrant?

Saint Cloud, FL |

I was stopped by detectives they said solely because they thought my friend was in my car. They had saw him a few days before get in my car and then day I was stopped they had gotten a warrant for him. They interrogated me. They searched my car Without permission, they said they saw weed which it was not it was dirt and cracker crumbs. (my friend) asked that they give his property to me. They refused to give his cell phone. June 27. He bonded out that night and his phone was not in his property at the jail, cops did not give him a property slip. When he called about his phone they detectives told him that they wouldnt give him his phone because they were waiting on search warrant for the phone. Got it July16 and then returned the phone. Is this legal?

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Attorney answers 3


They can secure property in order to get a search warrant if they think evidence will be otherwise destroyed.

No legal advice is given here. My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must NOT be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions & Answers forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. I am only licensed in the States of California and New York and the District of Columbia


Something doesn't sound right here.



For what part of this does not sound right?

Mark H Randall

Mark H Randall


The stop. The search of the car. The seizing of the phone. This just doesn't look right. Maybe there are more facts. Its just that the police need a good reason to stop a car, make everyone get out, and search and seize items.


Except the dirt and cracker crumbs part, sadly for you this all sounds kosher to me.

If law enforcement has an arrest warrant and sees the subject of that warrant in a car then they can lawfully stop the car and detain the driver while they serve the warrant and arrest the subject. If, in the process, they observe criminality (i.e. weed in the car) then they can act upon that as well.

While police generally cannot search a car without a warrant or consent there are exceptions (for example, in your case, they may have been authorized to do so as either incident to making the arrest or if they had reason to believe that either you or the subject was armed and dangerous and therefore needed to do a protective sweep for officer safety).

Once an arrest is made all property belonging to the arrestee should be impounded, properly labeled and stored. If law enforcement wished to gain entry into any impounded property (be it a cell phone, a suitcase, a laptop or vehicle trunk, whatever), then they can maintain possession and control over the same for a reasonable amount of time while they attempt to secure a search warrant. While officers have discretion to return property to someone instead of impounding it (for instance, you get pulled over and arrested for DUI but the cops allow your wife to come get the car instead of causing it to be towed it away) they are under no obligation whatsoever to do so.

It sounds tome as though a) your friend is in some hot water and b) you may have a defendable case yourself. As to each of you I suggest that you make appointments with a St. Cloud area criminal defense lawyer, show-up on time, engage in a meaningful Q&A and determine how to proceed in your best interests.

Although I practice primarily in Miami-Dade County you are welcome to contact my office for a referral or two, or you can search do a location search here on Avvo or you can search the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers website by locality (please see - and click on the "Find A Lawyer" tab).

Either way, best of luck!

First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)



Thank you. The detective said he didnt see him in my c



The detective told me he did not see him in my car. He pulled me over thinking he might be in my car. My friend has been charged several times by this same detective for same offense and date of crime is the same. While he was already serving his time for that charge, only thing is they keep changing the case number and re-wording the offense. Those cases got dropped. This detective has made threats to him and his family that hell do what ever it takes to see him get 15 years plus.

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