If you have been accused of violating a state or federal criminal law, it’s important to act as if you’re “being watched” while you utilize social media platforms until your case is fully resolved. This approach to communication may make you feel a little paranoid, which is understandable. Yet, it’s important to adopt this mindset because what you do right now can impact the outcome of your criminal case.
Partially because social media platforms are public forums and partially because it is so easy for investigators and prosecutors to scroll accounts – including those with strict privacy settings – social media has become a “go-to” place for evidence gathering in criminal cases over the past few years.
As a result of this reality, it is generally wisest to avoid social media entirely until your charges have been resolved. But if you can’t bring yourself to stay away from Facebook, Instagram, X, etc. entirely, it’s critical to assume that everything that you post and reply to on social media can and will be used against you.
What about email and texts?
It is also a good idea to assume that anything you put in writing – including emails and texts – will be able to find their way back to a prosecutor. You never know when written communication might fall into the wrong hands.
With that being said, it’s less likely for these communications to impact your case, only because prosecutors generally need a warrant to search phone records, texts and email, whereas social media platforms are public and can be searched without a warrant.
If you have questions about how your everyday actions could potentially impact the outcome of your criminal case, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance. It is far better to be safe in this regard than it is to be sorry.