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Can Social Media Harm My Criminal Case?

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are used to connect and communicate with friends, family, and even the entire world, whether it’s sharing personal photos and videos or posting a status update. However, if you are involved in a criminal investigation, law enforcement can use your social media activity as evidence against you.

Your social media posts can demonstrate the following:

  • Your actions – For example, if you were charged with DUI and police discover photos online of you and your friends binge drinking or a status update of how inebriated you are prior to the arrest, such evidence can be used to prove you were driving while intoxicated.
  • Your location – Check-ins are a popular way of sharing your location to keep your followers updated on your whereabouts. However, law enforcement can use check-ins to determine if you were at the crime scene when the offense occurred.
  • Your feelings – The police may look at status updates or comments to determine if your alleged criminal actions were premeditated. For instance, if you threatened someone online and were later involved in a physical altercation with that person afterward, your threats could be used to charge you with assault.

Although you may believe your privacy settings prevent the public from seeing your accounts, social media platforms often cooperate with criminal investigations to make an alleged suspect’s private information available. Additionally, if you attempt to delete your social media accounts, this could be viewed as destroying evidence, potentially resulting in further legal trouble.

If you are arrested for a crime, it is wise to stay away from social media until your case is over. If you have the urge to discuss the details of your case, only speak with your lawyer, as opposed to your friends and family on social media.

For more information about our legal services, contact L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC today.


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