27 Nov 23

How Your Social Media Can Be Used Against You in a Long Island Criminal Case

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Last Updated on: 6th December 2023, 11:06 pm

How Your Social Media Can Be Used Against You in a Long Island Criminal Case

Social media is a big part of most people’s lives these days. We post about our lives, our thoughts, what we’re doing day-to-day. But did you know that prosecutors can use your social media posts against you if you end up facing criminal charges? It’s true, and it happens more than you might think, especially here on Long Island.

Let me break it down for you…

Your Posts Can Be Used as Evidence

If you post something online related to an alleged crime—or that contradicts your defense—prosecutors can try to use that as evidence. For example, if you claim you weren’t at the scene of a crime but then posted a selfie that pins you there, that won’t look good. Or if you’re accused of selling illegal substances and have posted photos with drugs and money, they’ll likely try to use that against you. Not ideal!

They Can Portray You Negatively

Even if you don’t post directly incriminating stuff, prosecutors might still comb through your social media looking for ways to portray you in a negative light. They want the judge/jury to see you as an unsavory character. So posts with profanity, drug references, etc could be used this way. It’s not fair, but it happens.

Your Messages Can Be Subpoenaed

Think your private DMs are safe? Think again. Prosecutors can (and do!) send subpoenas to social media companies, demanding they hand over messages, photos, and more. And most big companies will comply. So those late night convos could easily make their way to the prosecutors. Yikes!

Location Data Can Place You at Crime Scenes

Between geotags, check-ins, and location data stored by social media companies, your online activity can often pinpoint your physical location. So if you claim you weren’t somewhere but your Instagram posts put you there, that causes issues.

Associations Matter

Who you’re connected with online could also come back to bite you. If you’re friends/followers with known criminals, gang members, etc, prosecutors might try to paint you as guilty by association. It’s not fair, but it’s reality.

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What About Free Speech?

You might be wondering: isn’t this a violation of my constitutional right to free speech? Well, it’s complicated. Generally, your posts can be used against you if they’re relevant to the case. But defense lawyers can fight back on free speech grounds if it seems prosecutors are overreaching.

It Goes Beyond Social Media

It’s not just Facebook and Twitter posts. Prosecutors can use your YouTube videos, online photos, blog posts, dating app messages…pretty much anything you put out there that’s relevant to the case or makes you look bad. Be careful what you put out there!

Some Posts Could Lead to Additional Charges

Let’s say you’ve been arrested for assault. If prosecutors find social media posts of you threatening the victim before/after the crime, they might hit you with additional charges like witness tampering or harassment. Not good when you’re already in hot water!

You Could Be Charged for Old Posts

Generally, prosecutors can only use your social media history from the last 5 years against you. But anything older than that is fair game if it shows an ongoing pattern of illegal activity. So that 10-year-old photo of you with drugs could still come back to haunt you!

Police May Use Fake Profiles

You might think you have privacy settings dialed in so only friends see your posts. But police have been known to create fake profiles just to access private content that they can use against suspects. Super sketchy, but again – it happens.

What Can You Do?

If you’re facing criminal charges, stop posting anything case-related immediately! Don’t discuss details publicly or complain about the cops/courts. That could seriously backfire. Beyond that, go back and delete old posts that could portray you negatively or be used against you. And let your friends know you’re keeping quiet for legal reasons – you don’t want them tagging you in bad stuff!

If you do find yourself in court defending against your own social media posts, don’t panic. A good criminal defense lawyer can help argue against using that stuff against you – especially if it violates your constitutional rights or is just intended to smear you. So reach out to a qualified attorney right away for advice!

Having an experienced legal advocate on your side makes a huge difference.

At the end of the day, social media can easily be used against you if you’re facing criminal charges here on Long Island. So be smart, be careful, and be proactive if you find yourself in that situation. And never underestimate the power of an attorney to defend your rights! Connect with a skilled lawyer now to discuss your case specifics