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The Impact on Social Media in a Criminal Case

Billions of people throughout the world use social media every single day. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter enable users to share our lives through images and status updates, follow their friends and family, and even stay updated with current events.

However, if you have been arrested for a crime, law enforcement investigators can use your social media activity against you. Anything you post online can help the prosecution determine where you were when the crime occurred, who you were with, and even what you did before the crime.

For instance, if you were arrested for drug possession and police detectives find incriminating photos or videos on social media of you using the illegal drugs in question, these images can be used as evidence to convict you. If you checked into a bar or club and were later arrested for drunk driving or assault, law enforcement can use your check-ins to determine your whereabouts before or when the crime occurred.

If you are currently under criminal investigation, there are several social media tips to follow to protect your rights and future:

  • Avoid social media until your case is resolved – Although your privacy settings have made your accounts quite secure, social media platforms often cooperate with police investigations, allowing investigators access to otherwise private accounts. In addition, investigators may obtain information from your connections (e.g. friends and family) who have less secure accounts.
  • Do not delete your social media accounts – While this may appear to be a good idea, deleting any information—or even entire accounts—during a police investigation can lead to being found in contempt of court or charged with destroying evidence.
  • Inform your friends you’re laying low – If your friends have the tendency to take pictures whenever you spend time together or check into every place they visit, politely ask them to avoid tagging you in every photo or location until your case is over.
  • Only speak with your lawyer – While you may have the urge to discuss your case with friends and family, especially through social media messaging services, the only person who should know the details of your case is your attorney.

If you have been charged with a crime in Santa Rosa, contact the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. today and schedule a free consultation today.