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

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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

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 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.


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