How Social Media Activity Affects a Criminal Case

Social media has become part of our daily lives. From posting a status update and sharing photos/videos to keeping in touch with loved ones and staying updated with current events, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have made the world connected than ever before.

However, if you were charged with a crime, your social media activity can be used against you in court. Law enforcement investigators will try to find as much evidence available online to connect a suspect to an alleged crime.

The following are the types of evidence police officers and prosecutors are looking for on social media accounts:

  • Photos or videos – If a person posts a picture or video of himself/herself using drugs or holding a firearm, law enforcement could use the post in an effort to obtain a warrant to search that individual’s property or arrest him/her.
  • Status updates – If a person threatened to commit an assault or another violent crime against another individual on a status update and was later involved in a physical altercation with the threatened individual, the status update could be viewed as evidence of premeditation.
  • Check-ins – If a person or his/her friend checks into a bar and was later arrested for drunk driving, the check-in could be used to argue that the individual was consuming alcohol prior to the arrest.

When it comes to public posts, law enforcement has the right to view and obtain such personal information. On the other hand, private posts are often viewed through search warrants, subpoenas, and other court orders. However, police can still view private information on social media by scouring through less-private accounts of the alleged suspect’s friends.

If you have been arrested, here are several social media tips to follow:

  • Avoid sharing the details of your charges, either to specific friends or the public. Only speak to your lawyer about the details of your case.
  • Avoid using social media altogether until your case is resolved.
  • Avoid accepting new friend requests.
  • Never delete old content to try to conceal evidence, which can be considered as destroying evidence or a display of consciousness of guilt.

If you have been charged with a crime in Fredericksburg, VA, contact Andrew J. Cornick, Attorney at Law today at (540) 386-0204 and schedule a free consultation.

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