Whether it’s sharing our daily activities and viewing special occasions experienced by friends and family or keeping up with current events and watching entertaining viral videos, social media has become a significant part of our everyday lives. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn keep the world more connected than ever before and provide an online space to detail your life.
However, if you ever get in trouble with the law, law enforcement investigators can use your social media activity against you in court. Anything you post, share, or comment online can help the police figure your whereabouts when the alleged crime took place, anyone you were with, and your words and actions before the crime occurred.
For example, if you post a status update about wanting to harm a specific individual and then you were later accused of assault that person, the police can determine the violence was premeditated. The same thing goes when a friend shares a video of you consuming alcohol on social media before you got arrested for a DUI.
Investigators do not need a warrant to search public social media accounts. Despite having secure privacy measures, social media platforms often cooperate with law enforcement agencies during criminal investigations to gain access to private accounts.
The following are several social media tips to consider if you are involved in an ongoing criminal investigation:
- Avoid social media at all costs – Stay away from posting on social media until your case is resolved. Discussing the details of your case with friends—or the entire world—can lead to further legal trouble.
- Do not delete your social media accounts – While you may believe that deleting your social media presence is a smart move, the prosecution can view this type of action as attempting to destroy evidence, which can result in more criminal charges.
- No more tagging – Tell your friends to stop tagging you in photos, videos, and even check-ins until your case is over.
- Only speak to your lawyer – Although you may be tempted to discuss your case with others, the only person you can talk to is your attorney. Your lawyer can review your social media accounts and determine available legal options to help you avoid conviction or serving serious penalties.