Privacy issues relating to computer searches and seizures
Posted By Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass || 4-Feb-2015
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass handle multiple cases every year regarding alleged Internet crimes and other related offenses. Computers play a major role in most people's lives nowadays, and are increasingly factoring into crimes of all nature and severity. That is why it is so important for you as a private citizen to understand the law when it comes to the search and seizure of personal computer contents by authorities.
Even though you may not give it much thought, a great deal of personal information relating to everything from your interests to your spending habits to your various forms of communications can be stored and accessed on your computer. Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors understand this, and are increasingly relying on evidence found on personal computers to conduct criminal investigations and pursue charges. Fortunately, you and other private citizens across the state of Texas are protected against the unlawful search and seizure of your personal computer and other private property.
Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, law enforcement agencies are prohibited from conducting unlawful searches and seizures of personal property, including computers. In order to have the right to search and seize your computer, authorities must demonstrate and/or have:
It is important to keep in mind that having the legal authority to search and/or confiscate your computer does not necessarily give authorities the right to do whatever they want with your personal property. For instance, there can be limitations placed on the types of personal property included on a search warrant and/or the kinds of computer files subject to investigation. Another thing to remember is that you are not obligated to give authorities permission to search your computer unless they have a valid search warrant or other legal grounds to do so.
If you have questions about computer crimes or your specific case, contact our firm to request a free consultation.