The Impact of Social Media on Criminal Defense Cases

The Impact of Social Media on Criminal Defense Cases

Social media has become a constant presence in the world today. While it has many positives, it can negatively impact a criminal case.

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Here are some ways that social media could affect your case outcome and what you can do to protect yourself while facing criminal charges.

Courtroom Evidence

Social media posts are considered valid evidence in the courtroom. The prosecution can use photos, videos, private messages, and location data to build evidence against you. Be careful about anything you post online as it could have legal implications that lead to your conviction. People should adjust their privacy settings and be cautious about which friend requests they accept.

Creating Juror Prejudices

Social media can create bias for potential jurors and influence their opinions long before they walk into the courtroom. Those jurors could develop preconceived notions about you or your case, making it difficult for them to remain unbiased during your trial.

Spreading Misinformation

While social media platforms can share information quickly, not all of it is fact-checked. This creates rumours and spreads misinformation that can quickly go viral. It may present a distorted narrative about you and the charges you’re facing that can influence a variety of parties from the general public and media to witnesses or jurors.

Impact on Your Sentence

Social media content might also influence a judge’s decision. If they see evidence that you have been boasting about your crimes on social media or that you were in a location that you deny having been to, they may be inclined to impose harsher penalties.

Should You Delete Content from Your Social Media Accounts?

If any of the content on your social media pages could be potentially harmful to your case, you may consider deleting it. Unfortunately, that’s not the best action to take in this situation. Deleting content may be seen as an attempt to conceal or destroy evidence, switch has serious legal consequences.

Additionally, deleted content is easy to recover with the help of digital forensic experts. This would make any attempt to get rid of incriminating content bring greater harm to your case. If any of the content presented publicly or privately on your social media accounts is worrisome, it is best that you disclose it to your attorney and let them find the best way to handle things.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Pending Criminal Case

You must understand the potential impact that social media can have on your criminal case. You will need to take the right steps to protect your legal rights to have a better chance of preserving your freedom.

These tips will help protect your case in today’s technology-based world:

Adjust Your Privacy Settings

Adjusting privacy settings is advised for every citizen’s safety, regardless of whether or not they are facing criminal charges. It can be dangerous for anyone to view your content as this private information can be shared. It can just as easily be used to commit crimes as it can for gathering information that can be used against someone involved in criminal proceedings. Make sure you update your settings and only accept friend requests from people that you know.

Portray the Right Image

The image you portray online can also sway the opinions of the prosecution, jurors, and the judge. Make sure you are not portraying yourself in a negative light.

Never Discuss Your Case

You should never discuss legal matters on your social media accounts. This goes for both civil and criminal cases, as the information that can be gathered from it can be used against you.

Make Sure You Consult Your Attorney About Social Media

If you are facing criminal charges, no matter how minor they may seem, you need a criminal defense lawyer. They will help develop a strategy to handle any content that may be potentially harmful in your case. Additionally, your attorney should be the only person you discuss your charges with until your case has concluded. 

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