What should I do to prepare for my case if it involves digital evidence?
What you should do in your individual case will depend on your state’s rules of evidence and the type of abuse you are experiencing. However, here are some things you may want to consider:
- Find out how to get your evidence. You may be able to get your evidence directly through your own accounts or you may have to request that a third party (such as a telephone company) provide you with the evidence you need.
- Save the evidence. You can learn more about what needs to be saved and how to best save it in our Documenting/Saving Evidence page.
- Take pictures, screenshots, or printouts of any evidence that is on your phone or table that you want to leave with the judge. If your evidence is only on your own telephone or tablet, you may be required to leave it with the judge until your hearing is over if you don’t have it printed out or saved in another format.
- Think about the testimony you plan to tell the judge and how your evidence fits with your testimony. In order to “admit” (enter) evidence in court, you will likely have to testify (“lay a foundation”) about:
- how you came upon that evidence; and
- how you know that it is the abuser who sent the messages, posted the social media posts, etc.; and
- Check with a lawyer in your state if you made a video or audio recording to capture evidence of the abuse. In some states, it may not be legal for you to record a conversation if the other person being recorded doesn’t know about it. You can also read more about recording laws on our website.
Again, it is helpful to work with a lawyer to prepare for a court hearing or get legal advice about what you may be able to use in court.