Criminal Defense Digital Evidence

How Does Social Media and Digital Evidence Impact Criminal Defense Strategies in Alabama?

Technology and the widespread popularity of social media have completely transformed the world of criminal investigation. What could once be done without leaving a trace is now easy to prove thanks to IP-based geolocation, social media tracking, and other types of digital evidence. If you’ve been accused of a crime, it’s likely that digital evidence and social media posts will come into play.

It’s crucial to protect your rights and your freedom with the help of a Daphne, AL criminal defense lawyer. Call Coumanis & York at 251-336-3121 to set up a consultation now.


Different Types of Digital Evidence

Digital evidence comes in many forms and is useful in a wide range of criminal cases. Common types of digital evidence include e-mails, photographs from digital cameras or smart devices, online banking transactions, text documents, chat histories, Internet browser histories, data on a hard drive, cloud data, and computer backups. However, not all digital evidence is equally useful.


To be of use in a criminal case, digital evidence must be authentic. It’s increasingly easy to create fraudulent evidence that looks genuine to the naked eye, only to be exposed later as fake. For example, any teenager in Daphne, AL with a shred of tech knowledge can create fake screenshots of conversations from any messaging app or fraudulent screenshots of social media posts that never actually existed. For that reason, expert witnesses are often called upon to weigh in on digital evidence.


Social Media and Its Role in Damaging a Defense Case

Social media is a fickle friend, helping at times the prosecution and at times the defense. When the prosecution utilizes social media correctly, it can be damning for your defense, especially when presented out of context. Dark or inside jokes between friends, when read in the context of a Daphne, AL criminal case, can make even the most innocent person look guilty.


Social media posts, comments, group activity, selling activity, and photos can create a compelling picture of who someone is and what type of person they are. It can also create a clear timeline of what happened before and after a crime. In some cases, the IP data or login history gathered by social media platforms can even place a suspect at the scene of a crime.


Consider, for example, a group of teenagers who were charged with hate crimes after vandalizing their school. Although they obscured their identities to evade recognition on security cameras, their phones automatically logged into the school’s Wi-Fi—and since their school requires unique login IDs, catching them took less time than it took them to finish their vandalism.


How Social Media Can Strengthen a Criminal Defense Case

On the other hand, social media also has the capacity to support your case. Attorneys may utilize social media evidence to establish an alibi, discredit witnesses, or weaken the prosecution’s case by highlighting flaws in their reasoning. Again, login information can be incredibly useful in this area. If social media login data proves that your device could not have been in the area of the crime scene, that may serve as a strong alibi.


Photos posted on social media can also strengthen your defense case. EXIF files hold data about photographs and are often preserved for photos posted online. These files show where a photo was taken, as well as the time and date when it was taken.


Utilizing Digital Evidence to Your Benefit

In order to use digital evidence effectively in your defense, you’ll need to work with the right Daphne, AL criminal defense attorney. This is a fast-changing area of law since technology is constantly evolving. What was once considered ironclad proof is now so easily falsified that it may as well be useless.


You must work with an attorney who stays up-to-date on the role of digital evidence in criminal defense and won’t be blindsided by a tech-savvy prosecutor. Your attorney must be able to interpret digital evidence but also understand its weaknesses and flaws, such as its ability to be falsified and the difficulty of proving the authenticity of some forms of evidence.


Choose Coumanis & York for Your Criminal Defense Needs

Have you been accused of a crime? Do not wait any longer to talk to the criminal defense lawyers at Coumanis & York. Schedule a consultation now by calling us at 251-336-3121 or reaching out to our team online.

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