Social Media Evidence in Criminal Cases in Arizona
Nowadays, just about everyone is on social media. Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, there is a social media network for every type of person and interest. It is awfully difficult to break away from these captivating electronic social spaces as they connect us with our loved ones, friends and others to share memories, common interests and lively discussions. However, it is in your best interest to refrain from social media use when embroiled in a legal matter. Social media use is especially dangerous for those who have been injured or accused of a crime.
Why Social Media Matters in Your Criminal Defense Case
Social media is now considered legitimate legal evidence. If you are accused of a crime of any sort, it is in your interest to temporarily disable or even delete your social media accounts. You can always return to these social networks after your case reaches a conclusion. Investigators really will go as far as checking your social media page for evidence that you are lying, disingenuous and guilty.
At the very least, you should set your social media account settings to private so only your friend can see your posts. However, there is always the potential for someone in your online social circle to leave a computer on in a public space and display your feed to others. Ideally, you will completely refrain from all social media until justice is served in your case.
Beware of the Social Media Emotions Trap
Everything you post on social media, be it a status update or short video clip, can be used against you. Even posting a single picture can count as important legal evidence that weakens your case. Plenty of those involved in criminal cases let their emotions out on social media only to have these posts backfire in the worst way possible. Prosecutors salivate at the opportunity to use these online postings as evidence in a court of law.
It is awfully tempting to lash out on social media when you are angry or emotional. However, if you post anything about your case or anything indirectly related to your case, opposing counsel might see view it as an opportunity to weaken your case. If you feel stressed out, angry or sad during your case, do not resort to social media postings. Instead, turn to your attorney during this difficult time. Keep in mind, investigators are well within their rights to request information about you from all social media companies in the quest to compile evidence. The moral of this story is when in doubt, do not post on social media.
What About Deleting Social Media Content?
You can’t go back in time after hitting the post button and take back your social media updates, pictures, etc. Though you might be able to delete content after a certain amount of time passes, it is nearly guaranteed someone will see your post before it is deleted. If the post is recorded through a screen capture, it can be used against you in a court of law as evidence. Furthermore, tech has advanced to the point that digital forensic experts are now able to recover deleted social media posts.
Incriminating Social Media Posts
Even if you do not post anything incriminating to your social media accounts, others might have made this mistake. If you are mentioned or tagged by other social media users in a post that places you at the scene of a crime, you might face an uphill legal battle. Ask your friends and family to exclude you from social media tags and mentions until your legal case is resolved. Once your case reaches a conclusion, you can go back enjoying social media without restrictions.
Click here for information on how wearing a crime mask could lead to criminal charges.