Criminal defense attorney takes issue with new Textalyzer technology

Neil Rockind, founder of Southfield-based criminal defense law firm, Rockind Law, says new technology called the Textalyzer that can be used by police to determine if a driver was texting, takes law enforcement down the wrong constitutional road.

“The Constitution requires probable cause and a search warrant for the police or the state to search our property. While there are circumstances where the police can search without a warrant, they are extremely limited,” Rockind said. “Textalyzer technology is a search for evidence without probable cause and without a warrant – and that is in violation of the Constitution.”

Rockind says the technology, which has been introduced as legislation in New York and would allow police officers to obtain the phone of the driver following an accident to determine if the state’s hands-free driving laws have been broken, is akin to a law that would require all drivers on the road to submit to a breath and blood test even when there is no evidence to indicate the driver had alcohol or drugs in his system.

“Comparing the Textalyzer to a breath test is offensive. The police cannot insist that an individual submit to a breath test that can be used as evidence without a warrant or consent; that’s an exception to the probable cause requirement of the Fourth Amendment,” Rockind said. “Data from the Textalyzer is actually the evidence that would be used to determine whether a person should be charged with distracted driving.”

According to recent reports, the New York legislation has a significant amount of naysayers. Rockind says that’s a good thing.

“Society should be looking for ways to protect civil liberties and constrain government examination of our private records and property. This technology enables government to do just the opposite,” Rockind said.

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