How Social Media Can Affect Your Criminal Case - Sand Law North Dakota
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How Social Media Can Affect Your Criminal Case

26th April 2023

In the age of social media, it’s easy to forget that our online activity is not as private as we might think. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all designed to connect us with others, and they offer a wealth of information that can be used against us in a criminal case.

If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s essential to understand how social media can affect your case. In this article, we’ll explore how social media can impact your case and offer some tips for using social media responsibly during a criminal investigation.

Please speak with a Sand Law attorney as soon as possible to learn how we can help. We’ll work to have your charges reduced or dropped entirely. Call 701-609-1510 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Social Media Isn’t Private

One of the most important things to understand about social media is that it’s not private. Even if you set your account to “private,” there are still ways for others to access your information. For example, a friend might screenshot your post and share it with others, or a hacker might access your account and steal your data.

In addition, social media platforms themselves often collect and store data about their users. Law enforcement agencies with the appropriate legal authority can access that data. Even if you delete a post, it might still be recoverable through a search warrant or subpoena.

Your Social Media Posts Can be Used as Evidence

Again, your social media posts can be used as evidence against you in court. For example, if you’re charged with DUI, prosecutors could use a post about drinking and driving to establish your state of mind at the time of the alleged offense. Similarly, if you’re charged with theft, a post about buying a new expensive item could be used to suggest that you obtained the item through illegal means.

Remember that social media posts aren’t hearsay. The prosecution can use them to prove the truth of the matter asserted in court. This makes them particularly powerful evidence, so think carefully before posting anything.

Your Messages and Activity Statuses Can Also Be Used

In addition to your posts, your social media messages and activity statuses can also be used as evidence in court. For example, if you’re charged with assault, a message to a friend about the altercation could establish your state of mind at the time of the offense. Similarly, your activity status could suggest that you were present at the scene of a crime when it occurred.

Deleted Posts Can be Recovered

Even if you delete a post on social media, it might still be recoverable through digital forensics. If you’re facing criminal charges, you should assume that anything you post online could hurt you, even if you delete it later.

It’s also worth noting that intentionally deleting or altering evidence can result in criminal charges for obstruction of justice. It would be best if you didn’t attempt to delete or alter any evidence, including social media posts.

A Guide to Using Social Media During a Criminal Investigation

There are some steps you can take to protect yourself on social media. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Don’t post about your case

It’s important to avoid posting anything about your case on social media, including your thoughts or opinions about the allegations. This can be used against you in court, making it more difficult for your defense attorney to defend you.

Be careful what you like or share

Even if you don’t post anything about your case, liking or sharing content related to the allegations can also be used against you in court. For example, if you’re charged with drug possession, and you like or share a post about drug use, it could suggest that you know or are involved in drug activity.

Monitor your privacy settings

While social media isn’t completely private, you can still take steps to limit who can see your content. Ensure your privacy settings restrict access to your profile and posts as much as possible.

Don’t communicate about the case electronically

Avoid communicating about the case through social media or any other electronic means, including text messages and email. This includes private or encrypted messages, as these can also be recovered through digital forensics.

Be mindful of your online reputation

Remember that everything you post online can affect your reputation, including your professional reputation. Be mindful of what you post, even if it’s unrelated to your case.

What if I Said Something I Regret on Social Media?

If you’ve already posted something on social media that you regret, it’s crucial to take action to limit the damage.

First, notify your defense attorney as soon as possible. They can advise you on the best course of action and help you prepare for any potential consequences. If the prosecuting attorney asks you about a social media post in court, you must be honest. Lying under oath can result in severe consequences, including perjury charges.

How Can an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help. Here are some of the ways how they can be of assistance:

  • Provide legal advice: Your attorney can advise you on the best course of action based on your circumstances, including whether or not to plead guilty or go to trial.
  • Represent you in court: A lawyer can represent you and advocate for your rights and interests.
  • Investigate the case: They can investigate the case and gather evidence that supports your defense.
  • Negotiate with the prosecution: Your attorney can also negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf, including plea bargaining and sentencing agreements.

Seek the advice of a skilled Sand Law criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights. Remember, what you post online can be used against you in court, so think carefully before hitting “post.”

Schedule a free case review by using our online contact form or calling 701-609-1510.