Electronic Evidence

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What Is Electronic Evidence?

Electronic evidence is any electronically stored information (ESI) that may be used as evidence in a lawsuit or trial. Electronic evidence includes any documents, emails, or other files that are electronically stored. Additionally, electronic evidence includes records stored by network or Internet service providers.

Which Laws Govern Electronic Evidence?

There are two sources of law which govern the collection of electronic evidence:

1) The Fourth Amendment - the amendment that protects individual privacy interests by preventing unreasonable searches and seizures.

2) Statutory Privacy Laws - Various Federal laws regulate how and when electronic evidence may be collected.

How Can Electronic Evidence Be Used Against Me?

Prosecutors can use electronic evidence to establish the elements of the crime you are being charged with. Emails or saved instant messaging conversations may be incriminating. Internet browser histories may be used to show that you researched topics associated with the crime. Word processing or spreadsheet documents may be used to show elements of various white collar crimes.

Digital photos or movies may also be uses as evidence of your involvement in a crime. In short, electronic evidence may be used against you in the same ways as traditional tangible evidence.

Should I Get an Attorney If the Police Have Seized Electronic Evidence?

Yes. If the police have seized evidence on you, it is important that you contact an attorney immediately. A criminal defense attorney can help you defend yourself against any charges. Your attorney will also be able to make sure that your rights were not violated in the search and seizure of electronic evidence.

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Last Modified: 05-19-2015 04:35 PM PDT

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