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Could social media activity hurt your defense?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Social media platforms are often used as “places” where individuals can engage freely in self-expression. An individual’s social media activity often reflects their thoughts, actions and lifestyle choices. As a result, it isn’t hard to see why someone who isn’t careful with what they post could do damage to their reputation.

When thoughtless social media activity becomes a part of someone’s digital history, significant repercussions can result if they’re under investigation for criminal wrongdoing or have already been charged with a criminal offense. Depending on what someone does on social media while they’re under scrutiny, their criminal defense strategy could be seriously compromised by their posts, responses or even what they re-share on behalf of others.

Self-incrimination is a big deal

One of the primary ways that social media can harm a criminal defense involves self-incrimination. If you’ve been accused of wrongdoing, know that posts, pictures, comments and private messages can inadvertently provide evidence against you. Oftentimes, law enforcement officers and prosecutors who scroll social media accounts for evidence misinterpret activity in ways that bolster their position. Understand that anything you “say” online could be misinterpreted and used to undermine the strength of your defense strategy.

Social media content is generally discoverable in legal proceedings. This means that law enforcement and prosecutors can access and present your social media activity as evidence, regardless of your privacy settings. While your email and cellphone history may only be discoverable in the event that law enforcement seeks a warrant, social media platforms are public.

Don’t mess around with this reality. Because anything that you do right now on social media could be used against you, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Stay off of social media until your case is fully resolved.