The Dangers of Social Media and Criminal Charges
In recent years, social media has become a part of the daily lives of people all over the world. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter provide users with a convenient way to connect with others and share information quickly and efficiently. However, the ability to share personal information with the click of a button can be detrimental to criminal defendants and those suspected of crimes. Below is an overview of the ways in which social media can be harmful to those charged with, or suspected of, crimes.
Is Social Media Content Private?
Unlike the interior of your home or the contents of your cell phone, police don’t need a warrant to search publicly shared information. In fact, even online information intended to be private may not be immune from a search by law enforcement. Part of the reason for this is that privacy settings on social media sites are constantly changing, sometimes without the consent of users. Therefore, any guarantees of privacy by social media sites should be taken with a grain of salt.
What Types of Social Media Evidence can be used in a Criminal Case?
Although certain legal issues regarding the use of social media content as evidence remain unsettled, criminal defendants and suspects should remain aware of the possible ways in which this information could potentially be used against them. Police and prosecutors have been known to search the social media accounts of those suspected of criminal activity for the following types of information:
- Videos, pictures, posts, and other content that may be related to criminal activity
- Posts or pictures that contradict information previously given to authorities
- Possible witnesses or criminal accomplices
- Any public conversations that may provide insight into criminal activities
- Evidence of crimes other than those being investigated that could result in additional charges
- Information that places users in a specific place at a specific time
If you’ve been charged with a crime or believe you are suspected of criminal activity by law enforcement, it’s imperative that you engage the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Please contact us for a free consultation at (518) 462-5601.