While being able to keep your auto insurance information paperlessly is great convenience, is it really a good idea?
No, in fact, it’s not.
The right to privacy that we as citizens have to privacy is one of the strongest rights guaranteed to us in The Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. The framers of that document were well aware of the dangers that could be provided by a government with too much authority to delve into our personal lives and property without appropriate reasons. Voluntarily giving a police officer your cell phone to provide insurance information opens the door to the sharing of such information, regardless of whether you wish to or not.
Under current Pennsylvania law, although a police officer may not go into (search) your phone without a search warrant to get information other than the insurance material on the screen, the officer is perfectly within his constitutional authority to read and review any and all messages which appear on the screen. This means that should a text or other notice come across your screen while the police officer has the phone he has every right to look at it, photograph it, or make note of its contents. Also, should the police officer suspect illegal or inappropriate activity, you can expect that officer to take the phone back to their car along with your license and other material and keep it for as long as they wish in the hopes that some information may indeed appear on the phone. In other words, you may not only be sharing your private information, you may also be asking for a much longer traffic stop if the police officer decides to go on a “fishing expedition.”
Often what first appears convenient may have the opposite effect in real life. Using your phone to store your insurance information is just such a situation.
If you are accused of a crime, you should discuss your situation with experienced criminal defense counsel. At Amori & Associates, LLC, criminal defense attorney Robert A. Saurman would be happy to discuss your legal situation. Please contact Amori & Associates at (570) 421-1406 for a no obligation consultation