Cell phone privacy and South Carolina's texting ban

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement officers are not allowed to search your phone without a warrant.

And our state legislature was one step ahead when they wrote the new texting ban, according to Attorney Josh Holford with Goldfinch Winslow in Murrells Inlet.

The ban already states that officers are not allowed to take or search a phone for a texting while driving violation. Holford said only in a criminal case can police confiscate a cell phone for evidence.

Captain David Knipes with the Myrtle Beach Police Department sa


they can't take your phone for a texting law violation, which begs the question, how do they know if you're texting?

"There's so many functions that a phone has, texting being just one of those. So it's going to be a difficult thing," Knipes said. "But it's going to have to be something that the officer is going to be able to elaborate on and to prove his point in a court of law that you were actually texting while driving."

Holford believes it's important to know your rights. He sa


the texting ban may be a way for officers to look for other violations.

"Once they've stopped you for a lawful reason, if they obtain consent to search, now they can find other stuff. People really should know their rights and know that they don't have to agree to a search," said Holford.

We asked some of you if you'd pay the $25 fine or fight it in court.

"I should pay the price. If I've done something against the law, I should pay the price," said Jenny McKinney.

Jill Lassiter, another resident, had a more complicated answer.

She initially said she would pay the fine, but when asked what she would do if she wasn't texting but was rather using GPS she said, "I would go to court."

If you do decide to go to court to fight a texting citation, it will be up to a magistrate judge to determine the outcome.

Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said cell phone records can be pulled to prove if someone was texting or not, but that would likely only happen if a serious crime or a death was involved.