Electronic Evidence Is Everywhere
Science fiction writers predicted we would have flying cars and teleportation by the year 2020, which is unfortunately not happening. But they were not far off when they suggested our wristwatches would allow us to video chat with our loved ones at the push of a button.
The cell phone has made mobile communication, geo-location, and audio/photo/video recording available to all of us, all of the time. This technology has enhanced our quality of life, but it has had many unintended consequences as well. As a Miami area criminal defense attorney, Antonio F. Valiente knows technology is a double-edged sword.
Your Digital Exhaust Leaves A Trail
Cell phones are constantly sending out streams of information, whether you are using them or not. This is known as your digital exhaust because it is like the vapor trail a car or airplane leaves behind as it travels forward.
The police can use this information to pinpoint your location during a specific period of time. If you happen to be using your phone in any sort of way, the police may also be able to determine not only where you were, but what you were doing. For example, cops have been busting people for distracted driving when cell phone records show texting or social media activity immediately preceding an accident.
When A Selfie Is Self-Incriminating
Although you may know not to chit chat with the cops when you get pulled over, or opt to plead the 5th if you take the stand during a trial, chances are you or your friends have posted incriminating evidence on social media without giving it a second thought.
Photos and video shared on social media or simply texted from one friend to another include information about your location and a timestamp in the metadata. This can help cops not only identify you, but show where you were at a particular time.
You Aren’t The Only One With A Camera
In today’s world, you should assume you are being recorded at all times.
The ease of obtaining and using audio and video recording equipment means you aren’t the only person walking around with a camera in your pocket. Other people all have cell phones, and they won’t hesitate to record you if you are doing something that looks suspicious or stupid.
Businesses and property owners are also buying up cheap surveillance equipment. Few of them hesitate to share their recordings when the police ask them for them, even if their businesses or property was not impacted.
Electronic Evidence Is Not The End
It is hard to pull a Shaggy and swear “it wasn’t me” when there is clear digital evidence tying you to a crime. However, this does not mean that you should blindly plead to whatever the government charges you with. You still have the Constitutional right to defend yourself, and you should not take that for granted.
Even when the police get their hands on electronic evidence it may not be as useful to them as they believe. It is often possible to cast doubt on the quality of the recording or the police tactics used to obtain it.
Working with an experienced defense attorney like Antonio Valiente can help you clear your good name or at least get the charges against you reduced so they don’t ruin the rest of your life.
Posted in: Criminal