Almost everyone uses social media, whether on a computer or their smartphone. Law enforcement knows this and facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat, etc. become a major tool and anyone charged with a crime must take caution immediately as the social media platforms that were used can and will be used against him.
One of the first things an experienced criminal defense attorney will do is review his client’s social media, because no doubt the prosecutor has already begun the digging around. Law enforcement has become extremely good at searching social media platforms – in fact many arrests come because of what is posted. The privacy settings do not protect you and are very unreliable. It’s been said there are only six degrees of separation, and I believe it’s less now, in this new technological world. If law enforcement or prosecutors can’t come up with what they need – more details – the companies often cooperate and turn over what was supposed to be your private information.
What are police and prosecutors looking for?
- Location tags that put users in a specific place at a specific time
- Incriminating videos, photographs, posts, tags, or other suspicious content
- Statements or images that contradict an alibi
- Anything that might undermine statements made at a different time during the investigation
- Information about activities and whereabouts before, during, and after an alleged crime
- Potential witnesses
- Potential accomplices
- Conversation histories, where available
- Evidence of other unrelated crimes that they can charge in addition to the underlying allegations
It’s also important to remember that it’s almost impossible to completely delete anything posted online. Forensic computer experts can find things deleted. Furthermore, if a person has already been charged with a crime, deleting posts can result in additional charges. Deleting a social media account during the middle of a trial could result in penalties. The best thing to do is to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Sometimes, social media can be used as an advantage.
The Bottom Line: If you’ve been charged with a crime in Ohio, or if you are suspected of a crime and you are under investigation, refrain from posting anything online or even using social media. Instead, call a good criminal defense attorney who can develop an effective defense strategy, question witnesses and gather evidence on your behalf, and fight aggressively for the justice you need and deserve. Know your rights, be smart about what you post online, and if you’re under investigation, call me. 513-260-2099