The world of forensics has rapidly changed since 2000. In this interconnected and always online world, evidence now comes in digital form as well. If your law firm is ready to tackle this critical form of investigative work, then here are the 5 rules you need to know for collecting digital evidence.
1. Ensure it is Admissible
There are thousands of files and tidbits of information to gather off of digital devices. Like all evidence, however, it must be usable in a court of law. Make sure you’re targeting admissible information to help you save time and cost.
2. Ensure it is Authentic
You’ll need to show proper receipts for each piece of digital evidence you uncover. Make sure you have a computer expert on your time to ensure it’s all ready for trial. Furthermore, it all has to match precisely with the case just like anything else you would present. For digital forensics, evidence must directly correlate.
3. Ensure it is Complete
Gathering evidence for one perspective of the incident is okay at best. Ideally, you should ensure your digital evidence paints a complete picture itself or fills in the gaps of your case completely. You’ll need to prove the person’s motives, that they did or did not carry out the crime for which they’re accused, and prove it was them that created these pieces of evidence.
4. Ensure it is Reliable
Digital data, when gathered correctly by an expert, is always reliable in and of itself. However, you also need to make sure your collection efforts are reliable. Did you and your team correctly and 100% legally extract this data? By taking your time and properly extracting data, you’re ensuring the best chance for any case in court.
5. Ensure it is Believable
Finally, showing a bunch of data points and dates isn’t going to do much on its own. Each piece of evidence needs to further build upon the case you’re making, but it also needs to be understood by the jury or a judge.
Work on turning digital lingo into easily understood, comprehendible information that anyone could understand. This can be the most challenging part of digital forensics, especially with so much complex terminology, but it’s the only way your efforts will fully pay off in court.
Do What You Know Best
If you’re not up-to-date on the latest in digital forensics trends or you’re not a cyber crime attorney, that’s okay. What you can do is start to learn about digital forensics and how it pertains to your practice. From there, simply hire someone who is a computer expert or train a member of your team who is already skilled to understand this complex element of modern investigations.
The more you learn about digital forensics, the more capable your firm becomes and the easier it is to win cases. Not only will you be ahead of the game, but you’ll gain crucial experience in dealing with future cases as well. After all, the digital age is far from over.