For most people in the 21st century using social media has become as natural as talking on the phone was in the previous century. However, social media and crime is a tricky issue.
There are clear dangers in using a medium that broadcasts your views to the wider community. People should refrain from talking about the issue on social media or even disable their accounts if they are facing criminal charges.
That can be a difficult message to convey. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter have become part of our everyday lives. For some people, posting their thoughts on social media is as natural as getting dressed to go to work.
Unfortunately, any social media posts can be used against you when you are facing criminal charges.
Many people assume their posts will not be searched by people who are not in their networks. This is not the case. One survey reveals that four in five police departments now use social media to help their criminal investigations.
CNN notes a growing number of police departments are turning to Facebook to catch criminals. Police also use the social network to gather evidence against a wide range of people suspected of criminality.
Any statements you make or images that you post online are fair game to law enforcement officials. They can determine your whereabouts at the time the crime occurred, and your actions leading up to the crime.
After you are charged, any discussions you get into with friends may be used against you. This includes private messages on social media.
Be Careful About What You Post Online
Some things you share online may jeopardize your criminal defense case. A man in Florida was charged with more than 140 felony counts after posting photos depicting him with cash, guns, and stolen items on his Instagram account.
Online behavior does not have to be this blatant to undermine your case. Merely posting how you plan to plead to a charge and why can be damaging. You can ruin the confidentiality between yourself and your lawyer by posting details about your case on social media.
Social Media and Crime – What Not to Do
Social media can get you in trouble in a wide range of ways. Don’t.
- Post pictures of any potential crime scene
- Post images or words about drinking alcohol if you are facing a DUI
- Give confidential medical information relating to mental health or other issues;
- Criticize arresting officers
- Criticize judges
- Post images of handling firearms if you are facing gun charges
- Give out information that breached bail conditions
- Post anything that could be viewed as witness intimidation;
- Give details of potential defenses;
The best advice is avoid social media post-arrest. Ideally, disable your account. Even if you don’t post anything, a friend or family member might put something on your account that undermines your case. Anything you delete can be viewed as witness tampering.
Talk to our experienced Phoenix criminal law attorney about your case as early as possible. Communication through a lawyer is confidential and safe. Call the Garcia Law Firm at (602) 340-1999.