How are you defining “cell phone records”? My sister died in a car accident in September, and we could easily log into her AT&T account thanks to the fact that she kept a book with her passwords in it, but that only told us the phone numbers she called and texted (and received calls and texts from) and the duration of those calls.
We saw that she was having a text conversation with someone at a number we didn’t recognize that lasted four hours and went right up until 8 minutes before the accident. Needless to say, we wanted to know the nature of these texts, and her cell phone was not recovered from the wreck, so we contacted the phone number she’d been talking to, and he was not cooperative. Obviously this made us more determined, so we contacted AT&T and were told that there was no way in hell we’d be able to get the actual content of the text messages without a warrant, and even then it would be difficult because apparently they only stay in the system for a month or so.
Anyway, my point is, yes, it’s easy if you’re just trying to get a copy of a bill or find out what number someone was calling or something, but it’s much more difficult to get the actual transcript of a text or other such details.
(And for those wondering, her phone was finally recovered from the car, took two weeks to power on due to the damage and the weather, came on once just long enough for me to see the texts, then died and hasn’t come back on since.)