As our use and even dependence on these high tech devices and programs increase, so does the likelihood that they will be used in a criminal trial against us. Law enforcement across the state are adapting to the growing body of potential evidence that has arisen over the past decade or so with advances in technology. Not only do we all carry cell phones now, but more and more of us are on multiple social networking sites every single day.
Does this mean a photo of you smoking weed on Facebook could be used to bolster a case against you? Yes—depending on the case at hand, of course they can. Messages, photos, and communications in the digital world are subject to the same rules of evidence as those in the “real world” and are being seen more and more in courts of law.
This Star Ledger article points out several major cases where text messages between suspects were used to strengthen the state’s cases against them. Also, tracking phones can lead to the apprehension of people as it did in the case of a man who kidnapped his children and stole his wife’s cell phone.
It’s more difficult to deny you committed a crime when the prosecution has text messages or tweets that were time stamped on the date of the offense boasting about your role in the crime.
People, particularly young people, seem to forget that their tweets and Facebook posts are often considered public knowledge and accessible to nearly anyone with an Internet connection. But, young people aren’t the only ones using this technology. Even Baby Boomers are getting in on the action, making them vulnerable as well.
The rules of evidence in a criminal case are confusing. Whether you’re talking about your call records in your phone or the bag of marijuana found in your car, all evidence is subject to procedural laws and rules from the moment it is discovered until the moment it is entered into evidence at trial.
You can’t be expected to understand all the legal ramifications of sending a incriminating text message and to say “you should know better” doesn’t undo what’s already been done. Instead, discussing with a defense attorney just how evidence like this can affect the outcome of your case is crucial.
If you’re facing criminal charges and have questions about the evidence against you, I can help. Contact my offices today to discuss the details of your case and what your options are.