Se habla Español | Wir sprechen Deutsch | Mówimy po polsku
Spanish Translation German Translation Polish Translation
Contact us for your initial consultation
Contesting Digital Evidence In A Criminal Case
posted on 5/23/24

Digital evidence has become more and more abundant, as a direct result of smartphones, tablets, smart watches, laptops, and a wide variety of other devices.

Even though digital evidence can be faked, hijacked, or tampered with, it is, generally speaking, admissible in court.

If you have been charged with a crime, and there is digital evidence that supports the charges against you, you do have the ability to contest this digital evidence.

Going over the best ways you can contest this digital evidence while speaking with a Chicago criminal defense attorney who will help you will allow you to obtain the best possible legal outcome.

All Digital Evidence Must Be Obtained In A Legal Manner

You have rights. And law enforcement cannot violate those rights.

Just as an example, if law enforcement seizes your phone when you do not consent to them doing so and they do not have a search warrant authorizing them to do so, then your civil rights have been violated.

If your civil rights have been violated in that manner, then the evidence they have obtained is inadmissible.

You can contest the digital evidence against you by demonstrating that it was obtained illegally. And, if it was, then it cannot be used against you.

Cases Digital Evidence Can Be Used

To illustrate the use of digital evidence in a criminal case, here are just a few examples:

  • Battery cases – a video recording on a phone, on social media, or on a computer of one person hitting or forcibly touching another person without their consent.
  • Drug cases – Text messages indicating the sale of unlawful drugs, details about locations to meet and obtain drugs or the cost for them, or a picture on a phone of drugs and an individual using them. 
  • Murder cases –  text conversations about committing the murder and the details of it. GPS location data linking an individual’s whereabouts to where a murder victim was at the time the murder was committed.
  • Conspiracy – emails between two or more people discussing the intent to commit a crime along with the specific acts that were taken to further commit the crime. Or perhaps, audio where individuals are heard talking about moving forward with a crime.

The Evidence Must Center On You

Digital evidence can be, and often is, complex.

Sometimes, a piece of digital evidence may suggest something. What it suggests – or appears to suggest – isn’t what it actually means.

Let’s say a piece of digital evidence centers on a transaction. However, it cannot be proven that you initiated this transaction. This is because you share that particular digital account with multiple people. As a result, this evidence isn’t very useful.

You can use that fact – among other relevant facts that may pertain to the situation – to demonstrate that the evidence against you is vague, hazy, and unclear.

If the evidence is any one of those things and doesn’t quite center on you, then proving that you initiated that transaction may not be possible.

The above creates reasonable doubt, which can lead to that evidence being discarded. And, with that in mind, this same concept applies to emails and other forms of digital communication.

Even if your signature is on an email this does not always mean that you sent that email. And, again, if this can be demonstrated, then it may be tossed aside.

All Digital Evidence Must Be Real

Digital evidence can be faked.

A photo, for example, can be edited. Same with a video.

This reality is only going to present itself more and more with the rise of new AI tools and systems.

If you and your attorney can demonstrate that the evidence against you is fundamentally unreliable due to the potential – or even presence – of tampering and editing – among other things – then it may be tossed aside.

Get Qualified Legal Help

If you need representation for a criminal accusation, Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help you. 

When you need an attorney, experience matters. 

Speak with a Chicago criminal defense lawyer today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.