U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

All the Pieces Matter: Evaluating Digital Forensic Expert Witnesses

NCJ Number
Date Published
13 pages

This document provides information on what digital forensics is, how to determine whether a digital forensic expert is needed and how to find one, and how to evaluate an expert.


This informational document serves as a guide to searching for a digital forensics expert; it provides an introduction to what digital evidence and digital forensics is, and the benefits of seeking out digital forensics experts for criminal investigations in addition to serving as expert witnesses in court cases. The document also provides a list of digital forensic specializations, including computer forensics, mobile device forensics, video forensics, audio forensics, image forensics, network forensics, malware analysis, vehicle forensics, and IoT (Internet of Things) device forensics. The information provided on searching for and evaluating forensic experts includes the names of several certifying bodies that provide lists of certified experts, as well as what to look for as far as educational backgrounds, work experiences and abilities, continuing education efforts, certifications, presentations and publications, as well as professional memberships; it also notes some red flags including ambiguous terminology used in a CV (Curriculum Vitae), bias, and compensation or contingency fee agreement requirements. The document also looks at public versus private sector digital forensic experts, and suggests that both paths can provide relevant experience and an expert’s background should be evaluated by the totality of their qualifications as they relate to the case at hand.

Date Published: January 1, 2022