Your smartphone automatically locks whenever you close the screen. Maybe it takes a fingerprint or a face recognition program to open it. Maybe you have to type in a password. No matter how it works, you trust that no one can get in to the phone but you. But is that accurate?

If the police get your phone, the truth is that many agencies can break in to that device, even if it’s locked and encrypted. It’s probably not as secure as you assumed. Plus, reports now indicate that this happens with far more regularity than the average person realizes.

The police ran into some serious issues when the companies that make these phones — such as Apple — refused to open the devices for them. They said it was a violation of the rights of the people who owned the phones, even in a criminal investigation. This meant that without the cooperation of the owner, they couldn’t get in.

Their solution was to “go dark” and develop their own hacking systems to force their way in. The police consider a phone a roadblock. They may have the device and be in the middle of an investigation, but a locked phone can keep them from checking for evidence. Forcing entry may be how they get around that roadblock and access what the owner thought was completely private data.

If you’re under investigation, it’s very important for you to know all of your rights and exactly what the police are allowed and able to do. An experienced attorney can help protect your rights and provide valuable guidance.