Social media has become a major part of people’s everyday lives. Websites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter provide users with a convenient method of connecting with others and sharing information. Unfortunately, however, social media can be detrimental to those charged with crimes. Below are some issues to consider regarding criminal charges and social media.
Social Media as Evidence in a Criminal Case
While the law regarding the admissibility of social media evidence in criminal cases is largely unsettled, criminal defendants should remain aware that there are a number of ways in which information posted online could potentially be used against them. Specifically, prosecutors and law enforcement officers may search the social media accounts of criminal defendants for:
- Posts, videos, pictures, and other information that may demonstrate criminal activity
- Pictures or posts that contradict information given to the authorities by a criminal defendant
- Conversations relating to criminal activities
- Evidence of criminal activity other than that being investigated
- Information that places a defendant in a specific place at a specific time
- Possible criminal accomplices
- Possible witnesses
Social Media and Privacy
When information is publicly shared online, police don’t need a warrant to view it. In fact, due to the constant changing of privacy settings on social media sites, sometimes without the consent of users, even information that was initially intended to be private may not be immune from use by law enforcement. Therefore, it’s imperative that individuals charged with crimes or suspected of criminal activity be extra careful regarding the future information that they post online. Another issue, however, is what to do with past online material once criminal charges have been filed.
Criminal Defendants and the Deletion of Social Media Content
Criminal defendants and suspects often wonder whether they should delete old information from their social media accounts. This is a novel legal issue, and it raises questions such as whether digital evidence is the equivalent of physical evidence. However, for criminal defendants, the important thing to keep in mind is that the destruction of evidence can have serious criminal consequences. Therefore, anyone charged with or suspected of a crime should immediately consult with a San Diego criminal defense attorney before deleting any social media content.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys
Due to the potential consequences involved, it is important that anyone charged with a crime in San Diego seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, our experienced criminal defense attorneys provide all of our clients with expert legal guidance in order to achieve the most favorable results possible. The talent and experience of our California attorneys ensure that our clients’ cases are handled expertly and with the utmost care. Therefore, if you’ve been charged with a crime or believe that you may be suspected of criminal activity by law enforcement, please contact the experienced San Diego criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong as soon as possible for a free consultation.