Silence is a Virtue (Even on Social Media)
I think the guy that first said that silence is a virtue was probably serving out a term at the Martin County Jail. The fact is, we all know by now that we have the right to remain silent. We hear it on every cop and lawyer show on television, which is OFTEN! Unfortunately, most of us just can’t help ourselves.In Florida, anything said by a Defendant may come into court during trial or pre-trial proceedings – whether it was said to a police officer, a friend, or a random witness on the street. There are some exceptions for when a privilege attaches and statements can’t be used, such as when you tell your lawyer about past acts; but for the most part, our words often speak much louder than our actions.
THIS INCLUDES FACEBOOK AND TWITTER POSTS!!! There has been a recent and growing trend in law enforcement to look for statements made on these and other social networking cites to either prove involvement in a crime, or sometimes just to show complete disregard for the system in general. Neither type of statement will help you when a judge is deciding your punishment.
I am seeing this more and more. FACEBOOK statements like “The court system can’t even stop me, back on probation,” are not helpful when you are arrested again less than 2 weeks later and hoping for a bond. Trust me.
Statements and photos placed online for the whole world to see may put you at a specific place and time, with a specific group of people making it easier for police officers to make assumptions or to prove an element of a crime. Even if you weren’t involved, you may find yourself on the defensive. By the way, many phones now include the date, time and GPS location where a photograph is taken. It is pretty common for police officers to check your phone after an arrest – especially on a drug charge. Think about that next time you take a picture of something that is illegal or could reflect poorly on you if you must appear before a judge.
Remember, you never see a fish on the wall with his mouth shut. Keep your mouth shut and your private life private and you stand a much better chance of staying out of trouble.