Perhaps an individual faces white-collar criminal charges because of allegations that they misappropriated resources or misled investors. What investigators find on their company computer might play a major role in the against them. Perhaps an individual stands accused of an offense involving the websites they accessed or the files that they downloaded using their home computer.
There are many times when an individual’s electronic devices could contain the vast majority of the state’s evidence related to criminal allegations. Frequently, those who have been accused of a crime involving digital evidence feel like they have no choice but to plead guilty due to the weight of evidence against them. However, a digital paper trail isn’t irrefutable proof that someone broke the law.
There are many ways of defending against criminal allegations supported by some kind of digital evidence. These are some of the more common means that people use to raise questions about the validity of electronic evidence.
They show that a network wasn’t secure
When someone faces allegations of computer crimes such as downloading illicit or copyrighted materials, prosecutors may not ever locate the illegal or inappropriate files themselves but will instead have an IP address showing that someone used a specific router to access the internet to upload or download questionable materials online.
Many people don’t even know that their neighbors or unscrupulous strangers have stolen their wi-fi until after there are issues. Even password-protected networks are vulnerable to attack by those trying to cover their digital footprints. People could potentially raise questions about whether the use of a network actually proves that the person who pays for the service committed the crime.
They raise questions about device security
Office computers and home devices alike are often accessible to more than one person. People may not have any sort of password protection on their individual devices, making it very easy for coworkers or roommates to do something nefarious that makes them look like a criminal. Those doing work on a used device could very easily end up accused of misconduct because of something another person did on the device before they ever purchased it or without their knowledge.
Even when it seems like the state has an insurmountable stack of electronic evidence, it may still be possible for someone to fight back successfully in criminal court with the assistance of a legal professional. Raising questions about the accuracy or validity of the evidence presented by the state is often the key component of a defendant’s criminal defense strategy as a result.