The Police Got My Bank Records Without My Permission

Aren't My Records Protected By Law?

Bank records, such as checking accounts, savings account, where and what purchases you make, and ledger balances are considered personal and private and are subject to the search and seizure requirements under the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution and Article 1, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution. The police may get such records through a search warrant signed by a judge based upon an affidavit laying out their probable cause to believe evidence of a crime will be found in such records.

Oregon Law for Bank Record Subpoenas

Prosecutors also may issue subpoenas for such records under ORS 192.596. Under this statute, the person issuing the subpoena must serve a copy of the subpoena on the customer whose records are sought and give said person an opportunity to object to the subpoena. Financial institutions, under this law, are instructed to wait a period of 10 days from receiving the subpoena to allow the customer time to challenge the subpoena. A prosecutor’s failure to follow the requirements of ORS 192.596 can lead to suppression of the evidence (State v. Thompson-Seed) as well as possible civil liability, such as a money award(ORS 192.606). Unfortunately, as often is true with search and seizure law, there is an exception to the 10-day requirement if the prosecutor is able to convince a judge that an Oregon law has been or is about to be violated (ORS 192.596(6)). In such an instance, the court may waive the 10-day requirement.

Rob Crow
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Licensed to practice law in all State & Federal Courts in Oregon.
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