The history of social media giant, Facebook, is well documented and can be ascertained by a quick internet search or a quick trip to the move store to rent the film The Social Network. When Facebook first came on the scene, it was exclusively used on college campuses, but since that time, it has evolved into a major form of communication and data sharing. But the things we put on social media can do more than inform a distant relative of what is going in our lives, it can also be used against us. This is especially true if you are charged with a crime, and have just moments before the arrest, posted questionable pictures, or made damaging statements. This is not a very well-known fact, but because we are all prone to snapping a selfie while out with friends, but it is a good idea to know how your social media presence can hurt you.
Take the instance of a DUI case, for example, and take note of how social media can hurt your defense in this type of criminal case:
• Posts you have made can be used against you. If you posted photos or made comments about drinking shortly before being pulled over and arrested for DUI, those photos and posts can be used as evidence that you were in fact driving while intoxicated.
• Posts that you did not make, but were tagged in can also be used to show your activity just before an arrest. So, before you allow your friends to tag you in a photo, make sure the content is not damaging.
• Even if you, or a friend, have not posted a photo or made a comment about your activities, if you have checked in to a bar or other place where alcohol is routinely served, that data can be used to prove you were in a certain place prior to your arrest. Once your location has been established, at a certain time, it does not take much effort for the prosecution to visit that establishment and interview the staff. Pretty soon, you could find yourself having to defend testimony from the very person you generously tipped.
One reason social media content is so damaging is that it is so accessible. Depending on how you have set your privacy settings, nearly anyone can search you name and find out what you have been doing. This can make it hard to argue that your privacy has been invaded and the information should be kept out of court, so the best advice is to stay off social media when you are enjoying time out with family or friends. But, we know this is not always possible, and so we stand ready to help you with your case, if you do get arrested and charged with a crime.
If you have questions about how to handle DUI or other criminal defense matters, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West. Call us today for help.