Social media platforms now serve as a primary means of communication and expression. However, for individuals facing criminal charges, social media can become a minefield of potential risks. As a result, criminal defendants should be cautious about their social media presence until their case has been fully resolved.
If you are facing criminal charges, you’ll ideally avoid social media altogether until your case is complete. Why? Anything you post on social media can potentially be used against you in court. This includes photos, videos, comments or even seemingly innocent activity that could be interpreted out of context. You’ll want to stay off social media until your case resolves so that you don’t give prosecutors any additional reason to come after you and so that you don’t give judges and juries any greater reason to suspect that you’re guilty.
If you need any additional motivation to stay off of social media while law enforcement officials are likely scouring your accounts for potential evidence, consider that social media profiles can significantly shape how the public, including potential jurors, perceive a defendant. Inflammatory or controversial posts can negatively impact public opinion, which could influence jury selection and the jury’s attitudes during a trial.
Additionally, prosecutors may scour your social media activity for evidence of character traits or past behaviors that could be relevant to the case. Posts that suggest a pattern of illegal or risky behavior can be particularly damaging.
Finally, discussing any aspect of your case on social media can unintentionally disclose your legal strategy to prosecutors. Even private messages or deleted posts can be recovered and used as evidence.
Staying off of social media right now can be undeniably challenging. But, when it comes to protecting your interests and your very future, it is far better to be safe than sorry.