The Role Of Social Media In Criminal Law
The use of social media is on the rise, with no end in sight. But did you know what you post to your Facebook or Instagram can have an impact on how a criminal case is decided? Photos, quotes and other stories you post reflect on your attitude and reputation. That reflection is not always positive. For example, if you are charged with a DUI and frequently post photos and other information where alcohol is involved, your fight for a lesser sentence could be compromised. Likewise, if you routinely “check in” at bars or nightclubs while on probation you may risk losing probation depending on the terms.
More and more law enforcement are utilizing social media in their investigations into criminal activity. While most sites offer privacy safeguards, those controls are not always failsafe and what you post online could contribute to how the Judge and jury view you. A USA Today article is illustrative of the issue:
● Selfies: self-portraits are all the rage, everywhere you go you see college co-eds snapping photos of themselves. But when these are posted online, your face becomes more easily recognizable. In cases where the identity of the accused is questionable, the more often you put your picture on social media, the more likely you are to be recognized.
● Disagreements: the internet seems to be overrun with people disagreeing over one thing or another, in a very public forum. Some people simply can’t resist the urge to comment on someone else’s political or personal rants. But singling people out on Facebook may lead authorities to you if and when something unsavory happens to that person.
● Connections: The beauty of social media is that you can easily connect to a lot of people quickly, and once you do there is no shortage of the site “suggesting” with whom you should interact. However, the more “friends” you have in common with people, the more potential witnesses there are to wrongful act.
The moral of the story is to be careful what you post. When in doubt, leave it off your social media sites. In a criminal proceeding, your character becomes your most valuable asset. What a shame it would be to be the cause of your own unsatisfactory result.
If you are charged with a crime, call an attorney knowledgeable about all aspects of criminal defense. Experienced criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.