Facebook is still the most popular game in town. Although it began with teens, it has now become the most popular online app across the world with young and old, alike. People use it for a variety of reasons, personal and business. Think about the ways we use Facebook today. We use it to stay informed about our friends and acquaintances, to meet new people, to learn about events, listen to music, to shop, promote political or other views, share stories and photos and vent about our lives. While Facebook has become so utterly entrenched in our lives (imagine a day without it), and it can be a valuable tool for sharing news and information quickly to a large group, let’s take a look at how Facebook posts can hurt your case if you have a pending legal matter or are under investigation.
False Sense of Security
We often think that when we are on our computer or our phone, we have safety and privacy in our posts. This has led to a false sense of security. Recent events in the news regarding Facebook have shown that there are many companies that have access to our data. When something is placed online, whether it’s Facebook or another social media platform, we do not know who is viewing our content. But one thing is for sure, EVERY company can allow law enforcement to view the content. Social media companies actively participate with law enforcement to create a safe environment online.
Examples of Evidence
If you have a criminal case ongoing or there is an investigation that involves you, here are some examples of ways law enforcement may use social media that can affect you:
- Announcements of your behavior – ex: “I got arrested yesterday for driving without insurance!”
- Descriptions of your recent or past actions – ex: “I been driving without insurance for 2 years! Finally got busted!?”
- Descriptions or photos of your drug use – ex: “Glad they didn’t see these laying in my seat. LOL” (with photos of a bong)
- Images or information that suggest more serious crimes or additional crimes – ex: “I am really freaking out! I think I hit someone but I was drinking and I left the scene. How can I find out if he is ok?”
- Information that may support or negate an alibi ex: photos showing him with his friends drinking at the time of the hit and run in the vicinity of where there was a person hit
- Information or conversations that indicate a planning of the crime (goes to premeditation) – ex: “Dude, it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. I was supposed to just hit a car. There wasn’t supposed to be a person in it. How did this happen?” (written in a private message on Facebook)
What To Do?
Many people realize they have posted something that may harm their case and delete the post and any comments. Unfortunately, this does not erase the information. If law enforcement has already begun to investigate, chances are they have seen the information, and your deletion of it only makes you appear more suspicious.
Here are the recommended steps to take in these situations:
- Do not panic.
- If you have NOT yet posted about your legal situation (criminal or civil), DO NOT. We know it’s tempting to vent. Do not do it online.
- If you have posted about it. Leave it alone and do not post anymore about it. Do not even comment on it.
- Most important – Obtain some legal advice from an attorney.
Contact Us Now
If you, or a loved one, finds yourself in a situation involving traffic tickets, a DUI, driving without insurance or other criminal matters, contact our office. David Crawford has the knowledge, experience and compassion to help see that your rights are protected. There is no reason to let a mistake or a bad decision affect your entire life. Attorney David Crawford’s will fight for your rights.