Most American adults have at least one social media account with which they interact on a regular basis. Many of these adults also don’t think about how their posts are perceived. Instead, some people adopt an “anything goes” attitude when it comes to their social media posts. This is certainly your right as an adult. However, you should always remember that what you post can be used against you by the authorities if you get charged in a criminal case.
Below are some interesting points about social media that all adults should know if they are planning on posting online:
Privacy has its limits
Some social media companies allow you to make posts private so that only you or your friends can see them. You must remember that privacy has limits because it isn’t comprehensive. There is a chance that the prosecutors can get a subpoena for your social media information. This means the company would have to turn over any of the requested items, which might include posts that you thought were private or had a limited audience.
Interestingly, these companies can’t share information with defendants in criminal cases unless they are one of the parties of the case. This is due to laws that are meant to protect the person who is sending information, as well as the one who is receiving it. This presents a conundrum for some defendants, but it also might infringe upon some of the defendant’s rights.
Handling social media posts
One golden rule to remember is to avoid posting anything on social media that can implicate you in a criminal act. This includes not posting videos or pictures of you driving drunk or doing drugs. You should also be careful with references to illegal actions, even if you are chatting with someone in private messages. Generally, silence on social media can be the best strategy you can employ, especially if you know that you are or will be facing criminal charges.
If you do have posts on your social media accounts that might be used in a case against you, it is imperative that you let your defense team know right away. Don’t try to hide it because you could affect the outcome of your case.
The issue of how social media can be used in criminal cases is still evolving. With the privacy concerns at the head of a case in California, it will be interesting to keep an eye on how things change over time.