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Frequently Asked Questions About Digital Forensic Evidence

Digital Forensic Evidence FAQ

Today, we use computers, smartphones, and tablets to do almost everything, from paying bills to scheduling doctors’ appointments to communicating with our children’s teachers. People also use the same devices for illegal activities such as purchasing illegal drugs or sending sexually explicit messages to minors.

Digital forensic evidence is important in many criminal cases, including but not limited to cases involving so-called Internet crimes. If the police have a warrant to search your devices, and you are concerned that they will find evidence that can be used against you in a criminal case, contact a federal criminal defense lawyer at our office immediately: (214) 238-9392.

What Are Some Examples of Digital Forensic Evidence?

Digital forensic evidence is any kind of evidence that can be stored electronically on a computer hard drive, online cloud storage service, smartphone, or tablet. It can occur in a variety of file formats. For example, photographs and audio and video recordings stored on a smartphone are digital evidence, but so are emails and What’s App messages.

What Are Some Crimes in which Digital Forensic Evidence Is Relevant?

Digital forensic evidence is of the utmost importance in prosecuting crimes that took place entirely online. For example, identity theft often takes place entirely through electronic communication. If you are being accused of identity theft, prosecutors might present the phishing email you sent to the victim as evidence, as well as the victim’s response, in which they provided their bank account number and routing number. They might also use the cookies from your computer, showing the online transactions you made transferring money from the victim’s account or purchases you made with e-checks drawn on the victim’s account. Digital forensic evidence is also central in cases involving possession or distribution of child exploitative content.

Even when the crime itself took place offline, digital evidence could still prove the defendant’s innocence or guilt. For example, in murder cases, prosecutors could show evidence of the defendant contacting hit men or conspirators, purchasing weapons or poison, or entering search queries about how to commit the crime or conceal evidence of it.

What Determines Whether the Police Can Search Your Devices?

Police can only search your devices, or any item of your property, if they have a search warrant; the same rules apply to searching computers and cell phones as searching houses and cars. They must have probable cause to obtain the search warrant; in other words, they must convincingly argue that they are likely to find evidence of a crime during the search. Online content moderators are often the first to notify authorities when Internet users post content that contains evidence of illegal activities.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Internet Crimes

A criminal defense attorney can help you if you are facing charges for and Internet crime such as wire fraud or distribution of child exploitative material. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC in Dallas, Texas to discuss your case.

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