5 Rules of Social Media During your Criminal Trial

If you’re like the vast majority of Americans, you have one or more social media accounts. They seem like harmless fun until you’re facing a criminal trial that threatens to put you in prison for a substantial amount of time. In this situation, your normal day-to-day is put on hold while you fight your charges. Just as your daily routine is upended and you make needed changes to get through the process, you need to heavily scrutinize your social media use. We give you five rules of thumb to follow below: 

  1. DON’T assume that just because you deleted an unwise post that it is gone forever. In addition to screenshotting posts, which takes less than one second on smartphones, some social media networks have histories of cooperating with law enforcement authorities to recover deleted posts the agency deems pertinent to a particular case. Social media posts are considered public information, so the police do not need a search warrant to use your posts as evidence in court.
  2. DO keep your social media accounts active. This bit of advice might seem backwards, but deactivating your social media accounts can signal to the prosecution that you are attempting to hide evidence. Even if you are temporarily shutting down your accounts out of an abundance of caution and not for a nefarious purpose, it could still make you appear evasive to a jury and open you up to potential charges of destroying evidence.
  3. DON’T friend or message any jurors, potential jurors, or witnesses on social media. Your attorney might look at the social media profiles of these parties, but interacting with them in any way will be looked at as tampering.
  4. DO tell your attorney about any social media activity that could have an impact on your case. If, for example, you are facing a DUI charge and a friend tagged you in a post that indicated you were drinking hours before you were pulled over, that would be evidence that will probably make its way into court. Like we covered previously in this post, even deleted posts are never truly deleted. So, as with all matters, it is best to be truthful with your attorney about what’s out there so he or she can be prepared.
  5. DON’T interact with unfamiliar people on social media. Police have been known to create fake social media accounts in order to gain information on defendants in criminal cases. So, a stranger asking you about your case on Snapchat should warrant a red flag. This goes for more than just social media messages — don’t click on anything, including ads, that look fishy or unfamiliar.

An experienced attorney will be able to effectively guide you through a criminal trial and proper social media use during the process. If you are in need of a passionate and empathetic legal team to evaluate your legal situation, contact us today for a free consultation. 

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Abdallah Law

Abdallah Law has been a successful law firm serving the people of Chicago and the surrounding area for years. This success can be attributed to one thing: Our team. At Abdallah Law, protecting our clients’ rights and safeguarding their liberties is the driving force of everything we do.

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