Social media helps to keep people connected. That kind of supportive and engaging environment can be particularly useful when someone is struggling and needs community. However, for defendants facing criminal charges, social media can be a double-edged sword. Navigating these platforms with caution until charges are resolved is crucial, as online activities can result in truly negative legal repercussions.
If you are facing criminal charges, you’ll ideally want to stay off of social media altogether until your case has been favorably resolved. However, if this isn’t feasible, you’ll want to be very intentional about how you interact on these platforms so that you don’t unintentionally compromise the strength of your defense.
What’s the concern?
Even with stringent privacy settings enabled, the content you post can easily become accessible to prosecutors and law enforcement officials. What may seem like an innocuous post or comment can be misinterpreted and used against you.
Additionally, social media posts can be subpoenaed and used as evidence in court. Photos, videos, comments and even your location data can potentially contradict your defense or portray you in a negative light. For instance, a photo or a check-in at a particular location can place you at a crime scene or contradict an alibi, while a seemingly unrelated comment might reflect on your character or state of mind.
Finally, high-profile cases often attract public attention, and social media can significantly influence public opinion. Posts related to your case can sway public sentiment, which can indirectly impact the proceedings, especially in jury trials. It’s important to maintain a low profile to avoid any public misinterpretation of your situation.
As a result of these concerns, if you can avoid social media right now, do. If you can’t, be very careful.