Can Social Media Be Used as Evidence in a Criminal Case?
Posted on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 at 12:50 pm
From sharing our thoughts and everyday life to keeping up with family, friends, and even current events, social media has become a significant part of our daily lives. We use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to post various aspects about ourselves—no matter how personal they may be.
Unfortunately, if you end up getting arrested and charged with a criminal offense, your social media activity can and will be used as evidence against you in criminal court. In fact, most—if not all—police departments consider social media as an invaluable tool in criminal investigations.
For example, if you were arrested for assault and law enforcement encounters several posts which reveal you made threats to the alleged victim and/or bragged about the incident in question, this could be used as evidence to prove you were the aggressor of the physical altercation. If you post photos or videos of yourself drinking while driving a vehicle, or if a friend tags you in a photo or a video, the police can use these posts against you. Even check-ins can pinpoint suspects at the exact location the crime had occurred.
Although you may believe your customized privacy settings prevent third parties from viewing your social media profiles, platforms are now working with law enforcement more and more to crack down on crime, giving them access to user’s social media accounts if they could present a warrant. In addition, criminal investigators can gather your personal information through your contacts, who have more lenient privacy settings.
The following are several social media tips to consider if you have been arrested for a criminal offense:
- Avoid social media – It is wise to refrain from using social media until your case has been resolved. While you may often voice your angst and frustrations on social media, doing so could land you in further legal trouble or complicate your defense.
- Do not delete your accounts – Since your social media activity can be used as evidence against you, some people just delete all their accounts altogether. However, this type of action can be viewed as destroying or attempting to destroy evidence, which can result in additional charges on top of your original offense.
- Do not discuss your case – While it may be tempting to reach out to friends and family through social media accounts, the only person you should be discussing your case with is your attorney. But you should tell your friends to avoid tagging you in any posts until your case is over.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Florida, our Pensacola criminal defense attorney at the Morris Law Firm can help you obtain the most favorable results in your case. We can investigate your case, create a strong defense strategy, and protect your rights and freedom throughout the criminal justice process.
For more information, contact us and schedule a consultation today.