Since millions of Americans use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram every day, state and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors now introduce such postings into evidence at criminal trials. Social media gives the police a new crime-fighting tool to piece together how a crime occurred and even conduct police stings.
The following are several ways social media posts can get users in trouble:
- Photos and videos – Whether you share incriminating images or your friends tag you in some, any photos or videos of a crime taking place can lead to criminal charges. For example, posting pictures of using or holding drugs before being charged with drug possession
- Posts – Investigators may examine each of your posts such as status updates and content shares to find any relevant information to an ongoing case. For instance, if you threaten to physically harm someone in the form of a status update on Facebook and then were involved in a fight with the person mentioned in your post, law enforcement may charge you with assault after determining you were the aggressor, according to that specific status update.
- Check-ins – From restaurants and bars to amusement parks and concert venues, many people voluntarily check-in to every establishment they visit. However, check-ins can also be used against you in court. For example, if you check into a bar or club before being arrested for suspicion of drunk driving and you lie to police about your whereabouts, your check-in can be used as evidence for lying to law enforcement and consuming alcohol prior to your arrest.
While your social media profiles may be private to the public, investigators may still view contents of your profile through friends with less secure settings. In addition, it is not uncommon for social media companies to work together with law enforcement agencies to access profiles of potential criminals.
If you are currently facing criminal charges, it is wise to stay away from social media until your case is closed. Do not delete all your accounts since the police could view this type of action as an attempt to destroy evidence, which can lead to further legal trouble.
If you have been arrested for a criminal offense in Salt Lake City, UT, contact Lokken & Putnam, P.C. today at (801) 829-9783 to discuss your case with our legal team.