Texting seems like a fairly private activity. Unless you are sending a group text, anything that you write will be read only by the recipient. Right?
In fact, electronic devices like cell phones are being used as evidence in criminal cases more and more often. This means that law enforcement officers may very well be able to read any text messages that you have been sending. And text messages that include incriminating evidence about drugs are fair game.
Texting and drugs
It is unlikely that you would be arrested simply for texting about drug use. However, texting about buying or selling drugs is a different story. If your text messages show evidence that you were arranging to buy or sell illicit drugs, police officers may be able to make an arrest. They may also be interested in pursuing criminal charges if your text messages indicate that you have drugs in your possession. And you might not be the only one in hot water: The other person you were texting may also be in trouble.
The police may become suspicious about your involvement with drugs based on whom you text. If they arrest a suspected or known drug dealer and your number is found in the confiscated cell phone, they may decide to investigate you. You could also be subpoenaed to testify in court.
Some people who use drugs attempt to cover their tracks by deleting their texts. Even if you delete your messages, they may not be completely erased: Technology experts are sometimes able to uncover seemingly-deleted messages.
When can police read my texts?
You may believe that your text messages are private, but your right to privacy is limited if police have reason to believe that you are involved in illegal activity. There are safeguards in place to ensure that police officers do not violate your Fourth Amendment rights. Law enforcement may search your cellphone and read your texts only if they have a search warrant or you voluntarily surrender your phone. Your texts could provide enough evidence to arrest you for possession, intention to distribute or other drug-related charges.