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Computer, Crime

Computer Crimes: Can the Feds Search My Computer?

Citizens have a legitimate expectation of privacy in their computer files. The police cannot search your computer without a warrant, unless you consent. To obtain a search warrant for your computer, a judge must find that there is probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime located on your computer. If police obtain a search warrant, they can only search your computer for the things or files authorized in the search warrant.

You should never consent to a search of your computer under any circumstance. If other people have access to your computer, there may be illegal files on your computer, including evidence of pornography or drug crimes, that you do not even know about. If you consent to a search of your computer, an otherwise illegal search will become legal.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution, prohibit the issuance of a search warrant for your computer in the absence of probable cause to believe that particular items of evidentiary value are located on the computer. If your computer has been seized as part of a criminal investigation, you should contact an attorney immediately. If your Constitutional rights have been violated, you may be able to have your computer returned and illegally obtained evidence excluded from your case.

Courts often set strict time guidelines for filing a Motion to Suppress illegally obtained evidence. If you miss these deadlines, you may waive your right to challenge illegally obtained evidence. If you have been charged with a crime involving a computer, or are under criminal investigation, you should contact Brett Gibson immediately.