Can property be confiscated as evidence if no crime has been committed?

UPDATED: Mar 18, 2012

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Can property be confiscated as evidence if no crime has been committed?

I was recently the victim of an assault where no charges were brought against me but my cell phone was confiscated as evidence and has not been returned (5 days). I would like to know if this is legal and, if so, can anything found in my cell phone be used against me?

Asked on March 18, 2012 under Criminal Law, Maryland


Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you were the victim of an assault, then you likely either spoke to a police officer or prosecutor regarding the assault. You were also likely asked if you wished to pursue criminal charges against the person who assaulted you. Just because no charges has been filed as of yet, does not mean they will not be. Concerning you cell phone, usually the police or prosecutors will let you keep your evidence/cell phone, unless it goes to the heart of the criminal charges they plan to file. If so, the phone should be inventoried with the police department and kept on file. The law currently prevents law enforcement from going through your phone in search of future evidence to use against you unless it is for the purposes of obtaining the actual phone number pertaining to the phone. Contact your local police department evidence division and ask for a status update of your cell phone and whether or not it can be returned to you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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