Many believe that they cannot live without their cell phone, so it came as little surprise when a New Hampshire man refused to surrender his smartphone during questioning by police. Later during the interview, one officer physically restrained the man when he tried to use the device, and he subsequently was arrested for obstruction of justice. The police argued that the man may have tried to delete incriminating evidence.
Properly securing evidence
If police suspect that a smartphone or device contains evidence of a crime, they need to get a warrant based on probable cause. This protection is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, which bans unreasonable search and seizures. However, the police can ask for the phone or seize it if they believe the suspect will delete evidence. Once the phone is taken, the police should turn off the phone and seek a warrant.
Obstruction can be a felony
While the man, in this case, was charged with a misdemeanor and released on his own recognizance pending his arraignment, the obstruction can be a felony, mainly if it is a federal charge. This can mean up to 20 years in prison. Obstruction may also be charged if the suspect fabricates evidence, intimidates witnesses, threatens jurors or other similar acts.
Criminal defense can provide support
Those facing obstruction or other related charges should take it seriously, regardless of whether the police exhibited questionable behavior. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with experience handling obstruction or other charges can ensure that a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights are protected, and guide the individual to the best possible outcome.