Social Media & Criminal Cases

From sharing your life and communicating with friends to keeping up with current events and birthdays, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have become an important part of our daily life. Although posting constantly may be harmless in general, your social media activity can be harmful when it comes to a criminal case. It is critical to understand how prior social media posts can help law enforcement build a case against you, and why it is imperative to avoid posting anything in the future until your case has been resolved.

The following are several ways social media posts can harm you if you are facing criminal charges:

  • Assuming privacy – The police and prosecution may search your public social media sites at various stages during your criminal investigation to look for evidence which can help them secure your conviction. Despite the fact that your social media settings are set to private, this does not necessarily mean that they cannot obtain your social media history. In fact, a judge can issue a subpoena so that the police can access this type of information.
  • Your social media activity can indicate your whereabouts – Anytime you post something, or someone tags you in a post, the time and location of the post will also be logged. This information can create a timeline which details where you were before, during and after the crime in question was committed. For example, if you checked into a bar on Facebook before getting arrested for a DUI, the fact that you were consuming alcohol at a bar before driving can provide important evidence to the prosecution.
  • Deleting posts is not a good idea – Those charged with a crime may attempt to delete previous incriminating posts. Keep in mind, law enforcement can obtain a subpoena, permitting them to retrieve this information directly from the social media company. Furthermore, deleting the posts may be viewed as an intentional act to destroy evidence, resulting in even more legal trouble.

What happens if you already posted something potentially damaging on your social media sites? Contact our Cleveland criminal defense attorneys at Patituce & Associates today to discover the strategies to handle problems these posts may pose in your criminal case.