If you are like most adults, you spend a lot of time online. A significant percentage of that time may be spent on various social media platforms. However, if you have recently been accused of criminal wrongdoing, it is time to rethink your approach to these resources.
Criminal defendants should exercise caution on social media for several important reasons.
Keep these 3 things in mind
If you are not going to refrain from using social media altogether as your case unfolds, it is going to be important to keep the following things in mind every time you post something:
- Privacy and Security Concerns: Sharing personal information or details of the case on social media can compromise privacy and security. Law enforcement agencies, opposing parties or individuals with malicious intent may gather information from social media profiles to harass or threaten you.
- Admissibility of Evidence: Anything posted on social media can potentially be used as evidence by the prosecution in a criminal case. Prosecutors and law enforcement agencies often monitor social media platforms to gather information that may be used to undermine your defense. Even seemingly-innocent posts or comments can be misinterpreted, taken out of context or otherwise used to minimize the strength of your case.
- Perception and Prejudice: Social media posts can shape public opinion and influence potential jurors. Sharing details or opinions about the case may lead to preconceived notions, biases or judgments that can affect the fairness of your trial. It is, therefore, important to avoid discussing the specifics of the case, making incriminating statements or engaging in arguments or confrontations online until your case is fully resolved.
Seeking legal guidance will help you to both build a strong defense and to benefit from a lawyer’s additional perspective concerning social media usage during this time.