As exhilarating as it is that you can find out so much about anyone and anything just by searching the Internet, it is also unnerving that other people can find out so much about you. If you Google the name of any of your high school classmates, the first thing that will appear if the classmate has become successful in his or her professional field is the classmate’s profile page at his or her place of employment. Otherwise, you will see the classmate’s drunken tweets that he or she mistakenly tweeted publicly.
Meanwhile, the Fourth Amendment prohibits search and seizure of private property, and case law has affirmed that the instances in which the state has the right to monitor your private communications or media consumption are very limited. In many cases, digital evidence is what persuades the Jury to convict or acquit a defendant. This is especially true in financial crime cases and in sex crime cases, such as online solicitation of a minor or possession of illegal digital content.
If you are facing legal problems because of your online transactions or communications, contact a Texas white-collar crime lawyer. Having a criminal defense attorney on your side improves your chance of securing a desirable outcome for your case.
Why Is Digital Evidence Important in Criminal Cases?
Some crimes take place entirely online. For example, a wire fraud case may consist entirely of online communications in which a defendant exchanged emails with an elderly person, and the elderly person made Zelle transfers to the defendant’s bank account. Likewise, it is possible to be convicted of online solicitation of commercial sex or online solicitation of a minor, even if you never met the sex worker or the minor in person. Likewise, if a defendant is accused of trying to meet a minor for sex, the defendant’s GPS location, as tracked by the defendant’s mobile devices, may prove that the defendant was or was not at the place where the prosecution alleges that he was at a certain time.
Digital Privacy and the Fourth Amendment
Generally speaking, the government should not be tracking your location; GPS tracking is only applicable to some defendants serving sentences on probation or parole, as well as some defendants who are free on bail while awaiting trial. As for your online activities, many of them are visible to people other than you and the recipient of the communication. Bank employees can see your transactions, and they will notify you and sometimes notify law enforcement if they see something suspicious. Likewise, when you upload content on social media platforms and file-sharing websites, content moderators are always on the lookout for illegal content. If they find it and report it to law enforcement, the police must obtain a warrant before they can search your devices.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, About Internet Crime Cases
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of online fraud or Internet sex crimes. Please, contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your case.