Digital Evidence Can Include Deleted Files

If you’re thinking deleting files can keep you out of legal trouble, think again. Law enforcement agencies have tools and techniques that can potentially recover deleted files from digital devices and storage media.

If you’re facing charges for an Oklahoma sex crime, here’s what you need to know:

  • File deletion doesn't fully erase data. When you delete a file on a computer, smartphone, etc., the data isn't erased right away. The device simply marks that storage space as available to be overwritten with new data. Forensics tools can scan for and reconstruct those "deleted" files.
  • Hard drives or memory chips can contain file remnants. Modern hard drives, solid state drives, and device memory chips may retain fragmented pieces of deleted files, metadata, thumbnails, etc. in unallocated spaces or slack space. Specialized tools can piece this information back together.
  • Cloud or online storage services have backup copies. Files that were synced or uploaded to cloud platforms like iCloud or Google Drive potentially leave copies that can be recovered, even if local files were deleted.
  • Your internet browsing or download history isn’t private. While browsing history and file downloads may be deleted locally, providers like ISPs may have records that could be obtained via subpoena or warrant.

Keep Electronic Communication to a Minimum

Most people think of digital evidence as being collected before a person is charged with a crime, but evidence can be collected at any point. If there’s a pending case against you, it’s in your best interests to stay off social media sites, refrain from texting friends case updates, and eliminate all non-essential web browsing.

How an Experienced Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer Handles Digital Evidence

Digital evidence carries weight in sex crime prosecutions due to its perceived objectivity and reliability. However, the existence of digital evidence doesn’t necessarily mean your case is finished. Digital data can be incomplete, misleading, or even fabricated. An experienced sex crimes defense lawyer understands how to critically examine digital evidence and identify potential weaknesses or alternative explanations.

When you work with Berlin Defense, there are a variety of approaches we use to minimize the impact of digital evidence on a client’s case. For example, we may be able to challenge the way data was collected, stored, or analyzed. In some cases, we can suppress illegally obtained evidence or highlight exculpatory digital trails that counteract the prosecution's narrative. For example, digital evidence is often helpful in establishing consent in cases where your ex has falsely accused you of rape.

Rest assured that we understand what’s at stake when you’re being charged with a sex crime and will fight to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. 

Lee Berlin
Dedicated to defending clients accused of domestic violence, sex & violent crimes throughout eastern Oklahoma.