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Police must follow strict protocol to search a computer for evidence

Police investigators in Florida and throughout the country use sophisticated technology to conduct remote searches of people's computers. These searches are often done without the computer owner's knowledge.

Depending on the circumstances and the law enforcement agencies involved, a person could be charged with a state or federal crime if investigators search a computer and find illegal materials. If you have been charged with a computer-related offense in Florida, then it is crucial that you speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Investigators must adhere to established procedure when conducting a search of a person's computer. A search warrant must also be limited in scope, indicating the specific purpose of the search and where the allegedly illegal materials might be found.

Computer searches are often based on information obtained by investigators through peer-to-peer file-sharing platforms. While perhaps convenient for sharing information in a digital age, use of these file-sharing services carries risk, as illegal materials can be unintentionally downloaded to a person's computer. Police could then use those materials as evidence against the computer owner.

Anyone suspected of a crime related to file-sharing should speak with a criminal defense lawyer about whether the police search was legal.

Police also engage in online chat room conversations in order to gather evidence against people. Investigators may pose as minors while pretending to engage in sexual activity. This tactic calls for a thorough investigation of police procedure to determine whether the police committed entrapment.

The Figueroa Law Firm provides compassionate, personally focused legal representation to individuals accused of computer-related offenses. You can learn more about our firm and our criminal defense practice by visiting our Computer Crimes overview.

And one of our previous posts has more on your Fourth Amendment rights in general.

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