Social media is a significant part of many people’s lives in Nebraska, the United States, and all over the world. From sharing your day-to-day activities via status updates and pictures to staying up-to-date with current events and the lives of your friends, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has made our society more connected than ever before.
But when it comes to legal matters, however, your social media activity may be considered public information the eyes of the law. This means that whatever you, or your connections, share can be used as evidence against you in court, despite your privacy settings. Social media evidence being used in criminal cases has become more common than many people believe.
Several ways social media can negatively affect your criminal case include the following:
- Posts - Law enforcement authorities will examine each of your posts (e.g. status updates and content shares) for any information connected to your ongoing criminal investigation. For example, if you posted threats of harming another individual, then you are involved in an altercation with that person the following day, your post can make you appear to be the aggressor of the incident. Additionally, bragging about crimes or any sort of illegal activity online can be substantially damaging, especially if you mention any details of the crime you are accused of. While you are being investigated, it is wise to avoid posting anything until your case reaches a resolution.
- Photos - Any incriminating photos on your social media profiles can be used against you. Even if you didn’t post them yourself, it is possible that you have been tagged in an incriminating photo by another person. Advise your friends and family members to avoid posting any photos of you or tag you until the case is over.
- Check-ins - Some social media platforms allow you to check-in to a location in order to keep your followers updated on your whereabouts. Although it may seem harmless to check into a bar or a club when you’re out with friends, what if you are arrested for a DUI afterward? The fact that there is proof you were at a place that serves alcohol before being arrested will only work against you.
If you are currently under investigation for a criminal offense, do not use social media until the trial or case is complete. Although you may think is a good idea to delete your social media accounts altogether, this could be seen as an attempt to delete evidence, which can only make things worse.