Can my social media accounts be used against me?
More than 1.2 billion users regularly log into their Facebook accounts and more than 1 billion log into Twitter accounts. In many cases, users will “check in” and let friends and family members know where they are and what they are doing; seldom giving any thought to these check-ins. However, if you have been arrested and charged with any type of criminal wrongdoing you should be aware that your posts could be used against you.
Public vs Private Posts
Many people do not have strong privacy settings on their social media accounts. Using Facebook for example, what you post can often be seen by friends, family as well as their friends and followers. Imagine going to a party and taking a photo of yourself with a drink in your hand and posting it to your Facebook account. While this may seem like innocent fun, it can take on a whole new meaning if you are arrested later in the evening for drinking and driving.
Police Use of Public Evidence
While police would need probable cause to obtain records showing your social media posts this may not be as difficult as you think. In some cases, a friend or family member may offer law enforcement assistance to obtain your records which can ultimately be used in court unless your criminal defense attorney can have the posts excluded from evidence. Also, it’s important to understand, if you do not have the right privacy settings, your posts can be accessed without anyone’s assistance.
If you have been arrested or you are under investigation for a criminal offense and you are concerned about how your social media accounts may be used against you, it is important to discuss your posts with your criminal defense lawyer. Regardless of how innocent a post may seem on the surface, as evidence in a criminal case, photos, posts and even videos can be problematic. If you are facing criminal charges make sure you advise your attorney about your social media use.