The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution grants people the right to have a reasonable expectation of privacy when in their homes or with their personal belongings. However, when the police are investigating a sex crime such as possession of child pornography, molestation of a juvenile, sex trafficking, or other prohibited sexual contact, they can obtain a warrant to search your home, your computer, and other personal belongings to gather evidence. They can even obtain permission or a warrant to search your work computer for evidence of a sex crime, if necessary.
If you are suspected of a sex crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney can ensure that your rights are protected through the criminal investigation process. They can also help you prepare a strategy for defending yourself against the charge, avoiding conviction, or minimizing the consequences of a conviction.
Work Computers and the Expectation of Privacy
Each day, millions of Americans head to their office, sit down at their desk, and perform work-related tasks on their office computers. However, if the office, desk, and computer belong to the employer, not to the worker, the worker does not have an expectation of privacy. It will be up to your employer as to whether they provide access to the computer when asked by the police. If they do not provide this access, the police can obtain a search warrant.
It is slightly more difficult to obtain access to your work computer if you actually own the device and use it for work. Access to the computer would have to be permitted by you or gained through a warrant in most cases.
Can the Police Search a Work Computer Without Permission or a Warrant?
In some cases, law enforcement investigators can look for evidence on a work computer without the permission of the computer’s owner or a warrant. An emergency may necessitate this, such as the presence of time-sensitive information contained on the computer that would deteriorate before a warrant could be obtained, or if investigators determined that someone was at risk of being injured or killed if the search wasn’t conducted immediately.
They can also search your work computer without a warrant if they personally view something on the device as it is being used in public, or the device is being carried over international borders.
In order to obtain a search warrant, investigators must prove to a judge that there is probable cause. What this means is that they have evidence or information that you committed a crime and that evidence of that crime is likely to be found in the area they are seeking a warrant to search. While most investigators take this responsibility seriously, there have been cases where evidence was obtained illegally.
The Importance of Having an Attorney on Your Side If You’re Suspected of a Sex Crime
Sex crimes carry particularly severe consequences. In addition to incarceration and fines, one who is convicted is required to register as a sex offender, which means information about the defendant’s conviction and whereabouts is available to the public. Being a registered sex offender can make it difficult to obtain employment, housing, and maintain professional licenses or certifications.
If you’re suspected of a sex crime and you believe that the police might search your home, devices, or work computer for evidence of the crime, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
A defense attorney can take all of the information of the case and develop a defense strategy. In addition to suppressing evidence that was obtained by illegal means, a defense strategy can also involve questioning the accuser’s credibility, providing an alibi that shows the defendant could not have committed the crime and independent analysis of digital and DNA evidence.
Contact John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm Today
Accusations of sex crimes are among the most damaging allegations that a person can face, often landing them in legal hot water while simultaneously damaging their professional and personal reputation. Because of the severe consequences of a sex crime conviction, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer working on your case as soon as possible. John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm helps those who have been accused of sex crimes, including cybercrime and child pornography.