With the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites, it seems like practically everyone is online these days. Some people are fairly conservative with what they post, while others seem to share every minute detail of their lives. Most of this seems like harmless fun, but few people realize that what they post online could come back to haunt them in surprising ways. Just about everyone has heard stories about people getting in trouble at work for complaining about their boss online, and it’s hard for someone to be respected as a professional if their Facebook account is full of photos of them getting drunk at college parties. To make things even worse, what you post on social media could work against you if you ever end up on trial during a criminal defense case.
Social Media and Criminal Investigations
Law enforcement officers regularly use social media in their investigations. A quick glance at a person’s Facebook wall can reveal all kinds of information such as their location during a given time, who they were with, things they have done in the past that makes them look suspicious and other things that can be used as evidence. Gathering this information can be done in a matter of hours or even minutes; it doesn’t require a lot of digging or technical savvy to know if someone was hanging out in a bar hours before their DUI arrest. People post about their hard-partying ways all the time on social media, often in ways that make defending themselves in a court of law very difficult.
Social media can also be used in cases that aren’t related to drunk driving. A lot has been said in the past about cyberbullying, the practice of harassing people or spreading rumors about them online. Social media has made that incredibly easy, but it has also made it easy for law enforcement officers to track. As much as people might think otherwise, things like harassment and death threats made on Twitter and Facebook are taken just as seriously by the police as those made in person. Tweets and Facebook posts can technically be deleted, but it could be argued that they never go away. People can repost or save offensive or threatening tweets and use them as evidence in a criminal case. In other words, what is said can never truly be unsaid, especially if it is posted on the Internet for the entire world to see.
One frequent way social media has been used to both initiate a criminal prosecution and to create an ongoing criminal case more complicated is in the case of violations of orders of protection. Often, judges will issue temporary orders of protection in favor of a victim or a person making an allegation against the defendant. These orders of protection mandate that the defendant have absolutely no contact with the protected party: no contact in person, by mail, over the telephone, by email, or even social media. When the parties are known to each other, things may be said by a defendant on social media that get back to the protected party. This can constitute a violation of an order of protection. This is an actual crime referred to a Criminal Contempt.
Criminal Contempt allegations can seriously complicate a criminal case in that it can result in an entirely new case or be grounds for a judge to set a new or higher bail. Also, Criminal Contempt charges tend to be difficult charges to litigage when committed over social media since there is an electoric “paper trial” that can easily be followed and traced back. Of course, there are ways of attacking these charges, but it is best not to get into a problematic situation in the first place. The best advice when dealing with an order of protection: be careful what you post and who you post to.
Consulting a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’re ever facing criminal charges and believe that your social media history could be used against you, make sure you speak to a lawyer about your concerns. Go through your social media accounts to see if there is anything that could work against you, even if you believed it to be harmless at the time. Your lawyer could help you determine what could work against you, but they could also tell you what could work in your favor. Go through everything no matter how minor it may seem and document anything that could help your case. It really is an important part of any modern criminal investigation.
There is nothing more valuable in a criminal case than having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Choose a Brooklyn criminal attorney who has what it takes to be your champion in and out of the courtroom by reaching out to The Law Office of Mahmoud R. Rabah. With years of trial experience and a stern commitment to justice, Mr. Rabah will make your case his personal priority and not rest until justice is served. Choose the right Brooklyn criminal defense attorney to handle your case, make certain your rights are secured and contact The Law Office of Mahmoud R. Rabah today.