Think Before You Share: How Social Media can be Used As Incriminating Evidence
How a Columbus criminal attorney can make sure your posts don’t come back to haunt you
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram.
These and other social media platforms have permeated every aspect of our lives. Just look at Facebook on any given day. You’ll see pictures of your friends on vacation and relaxing at home. You’ll also see them talking about politics, religion and life.
In today’s world, if you’re online, you’re probably using a social network. In fact, 91 percent of online adults use social media on a regular basis.
Social media and criminal evidence
Since people tend to willingly share their opinions, location and activities online, it’s not surprising that social media is being increasingly used to gather intelligence for criminal cases.
According to a survey of over 1,200 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, 80 percent of law enforcement officials said that they have used social media to gather evidence. Half of those surveyed indicated that they check social media every week when researching criminal offenses. These law enforcement agencies can use the information they gather from social media sites to assist them in solving cases quickly and efficiently.
The things that can get you in trouble
Photos, status updates, locations and direct communication with other social media users can all potentially be used as evidence in a criminal case, depending on the circumstances.
For instance, in 2012, authorities were able to use one Bronx man’s Facebook pictures and private posts as incriminating evidence in his trial.
A few common ways social media can be used in a court case include:
- Photos or descriptions of underage drinking, drug use or violent activity
- Posts claiming responsibility for criminal activity
- Statements or check-ins that place a subject at or near the scene of a crime
- Threatening statements made against others
- Premeditative statements or conversations
- Status updates or posts that show a lack of remorse for a wrongdoing
- Images or statements that can call character into question
Contact a Columbus criminal attorney
Facebook, Twitter and other platforms are relatively new tools that law enforcement officials are using to gather incriminating evidence. However, these sites and other digital forms of communication are also open to manipulation that may cause them to become inadmissible in a court of law.
If you’re concerned that your social media accounts may be used against you in a criminal case, contact the professional, experienced attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer. They can research your case to find out if your accounts were unlawfully seized or potentially falsified, and will work to get your charges reduced, or even completely dropped.