What to Do If the Police Confiscate Your Computer
If the police take your computer, you likely have many questions. Will you be arrested? Will you ever get your computer back? Learn what your rights are and how to proceed.
Someone’s hand pening a laptop.
Why will the police take your computer?
Law enforcement confiscates computers and other devices to look for evidence. That means you or someone who had access to the device may be under investigation. The police may take a computer to pursue a variety of criminal charges, including:
- Child pornography possession or distribution
- Selling drugs online
- Soliciting prostitution
Not only do you have to worry about criminal charges, but not having your computer is likely to cause you hardship.
If the police seize your computer, will you get it back?
Most of us can’t get by without a computer. And, your hard drive may contain family photos or videos—irreplaceable, precious memories. Most people are eager to get their expensive computers and other devices back. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 18.18 outlines what the state may do with your computer after law enforcement seizes it:
- If you are convicted of certain offenses, your computer may “be destroyed or forfeited to the state.”
- If you are not convicted and the computer is no longer needed, the court may contact you. You would have to attend a hearing to get your computer back.
Unfortunately, getting your computer back isn’t always as straightforward or as simple as it should be.
What you need to know about search warrants
If law enforcement does not have a search warrant, you are not obligated to hand over your computer or answer their questions. But the police probably won’t knock on your door and say, “We don’t have a search warrant, but we were hoping we could see your computer anyway.” The burden may be on you to find out if there is a search warrant or not.
If the police ask to look at or seize your computer (or any other item), ask “Do you have a search warrant?”
- If they do not have a search warrant, ask for their business card and let them know that your attorney will contact them. Remain polite, but firm in your refusal to talk to them.
- If they do have a search warrant, read the document carefully. Verify the information and point out any discrepancies. For example, if the search warrant is only for your work address, it shouldn’t be at your home. And, you do not have to give law enforcement your passwords or usernames, even when they have a search warrant for your computer.
During any police encounter, often the best move is to invoke your right to remain silent. Many people worry that silence will be equated with guilt, but the opposite is true. “Anything you say can and will be used against you” is not just a snappy line from the movies. It’s how the prosecution operates. Now is not the time to defend yourself or offer up an explanation. You will have your day in court.
After the police take your computer: How an attorney can help
If the police confiscate your computer or other property, an arrest may follow. Call an attorney now. Don’t wait until you’re behind bars. There are several ways a lawyer can help you.
Fight against illegal searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment provides protection “against unreasonable searches and seizures.” If the police broke the law when they took your computer, your attorney will make this known to the court.
Help you get your computer back. Your odds of getting your property back increase if you have a criminal defense lawyer working on your behalf. Even if charges are dropped, you may encounter difficulty getting your computer or other devices returned to you.
Defend you against criminal charges. No matter how preposterous these charges seem, you must take the matter seriously. Many investigations that involve a computer being seized result in felony criminal charges.
Represent you in court. As the defendant in a criminal case, you have the right to a fair trial. Many attorneys offer a free consultation where you can ask questions and learn more about your options.
Did the police seize your computer? Contact Plano criminal defense attorney Kent Starr
After the police confiscate your computer, tablet, or cell phone, call Attorney Kent Starr right away. He has the experience and knowledge you need at this difficult time.
- Starr is a bail bond attorney
If you are arrested after a computer confiscation, law enforcement will detain you at the Collin County Jail. You will have to pay bail. Some people can pay this money themselves, but many need to turn to other sources. Texas Occupations Code, § 1704.163 permits attorneys to post a bail bond for their clients. However, not all law firms offer this service.
Mr. Starr is a bail bond attorney and offers these services 24/7. He can petition the court for your release (a writ of habeas corpus) if you were arrested over the weekend or on a holiday before the judge can set bail. And, he can also petition the court to lower your bail amount. One phone call to his office secures your release from jail and starts your legal representation.
- Starr has extensive trial experience
Some lawyers are “plea attorneys.” They avoid court because they don’t have trial experience, they’re intimidated by the prosecution, or they’re just plain lazy. If you’re not guilty and a lawyer tells you the best you can hope for is a plea bargain, walk out of their office and call Attorney Starr.
Mr. Starr fights for the best possible outcome for your case. Take a look at his Google reviews and video testimonials. It’s not uncommon for him to represent a client for a year or more until their matter is satisfactorily resolved. Attorney Starr is more than happy to show you the outcomes for similar cases he’s handled. This is all a matter of public record and he can show you this information during your free consultation.
Don’t let a computer search and seizure destroy your life and your future. Give Attorney Kent Starr’s office a call today at (214) 982-1408 or contact us online.
Can You Get Arrested for Selling Drugs Online?
If I Have Pornography on My Computer, Can the Police See It?
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 18. Search Warrants
Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1704. Regulation Of Bail Bond Sureties