Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become
an essential part of our daily lives. From sharing pictures and photos
of your adventures to staying updated with current events, our world has
never been more connected than ever before.
Unfortunately, your social media activity can be used against you when
facing criminal charges. Any statements you made or photos/videos you
post online can help law enforcement determine your exact whereabouts
when the crime occurred, who you were with, what your actions were leading
up to the crime, and how the crime was premeditated.
For example, let’s say you update your status to tell the world how
badly you want to hurt a certain individual. The following day, the person
you mentioned suffered a serious injury from an assault. Police and prosecutors
can use that specific post against you to imply the act of violence against
the victim was premeditated.
Although your information may be private based on your customized privacy
settings, police can still access your social media accounts through various
means. One of the most common ways is to directly request cooperation
in the criminal investigation against you from the social media platform
itself. Another way is by access the social media accounts of your close
acquaintances, preferably those with less restrictive privacy settings.
It is important to understand that you shouldn’t delete any information
during a criminal investigation. If you attempt to delete any information
from your social media accounts or delete them entirely, you can either
be found in contempt of court or formally charged with destruction of evidence.
If you are currently under investigation for a criminal offense, there
are several steps to take to safeguard yourself from your social media activity:
Stay away until your case is resolved – As we mentioned before, deleting your accounts entirely can have
a negative impact on your case. Instead, just avoid using social media
altogether until your case is over. If you have the urge to discuss the
details of your case, rather than posting a status update or message your
friends, talk to your lawyer instead.
Tell your friends to stop tagging you – From photos to check-ins, geotags can be used to disclose your
whereabouts at any given time. If your friends have a tendency to tag
you in every picture or place you visit, politely ask them to stop until
the conclusion of your case.
Contact a lawyer – If there is potentially incriminating evidence online, you need to speak with a
criminal defense attorney immediately. A lawyer can anticipate the impact social media
evidence might have on criminal charges and protect your rights.
If you have been charged with a crime in Riverside,
contact our skilled legal team at
Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich and request a free consultation today.