Most of us engage with social media every day. However, it is important to remember that whatever you share online is public and can potentially be used against you in a North Carolina criminal court case. Law enforcement agencies have the ability (and the right) to track and use information found on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to make arrests. Here, we discuss the effect of heavy social media use, both before and after an arrest, on your North Carolina criminal court case.
Social Media Use before Arrest
Police departments across North Carolina actively use social media to find suspects, make arrests, and gather evidence against a defendant. In fact, some departments set up accounts specifically to find information.
Here are some ways police look to social media to gather evidence:
- Status updates indicating your location
- Posts on your page or a friend’s page regarding your location or possible illegal activity
- Photographs or videos posted to social media, whether on your personal account or on others’ accounts, can provide evidence of illegal activity or a crime
Because everything you say or do online can be used against you in the future, the best defense is to curtail your heavy social media use now and to always, always think before posting or allowing one of your friends to post anything about you.
Social Media Use After Arrest
Once you have been arrested for a crime, it is even more critical to become aware of your social media use and how it can affect your case. Law enforcement does not need a warrant to search your public social media accounts or to use the information gathered in court, so anything you say can be used against you.
Here is what you can do after you have been arrested:
- Stop posting to social media. If you can, stop posting anything to social media while your case is active. At the very least, do not post anything about your case online.
- Keep your social media accounts active. The prosecution will find your social media accounts, even if you delete them. Deleting them might make you appear as though you are hiding something or trying to get rid of evidence.
- Ask others to stop mentioning or tagging you. Ask your friends and family to stop mentioning you online, asking for updates on your case, or posting pictures of you until your case is resolved.
When In Doubt, Do Not Post and Speak to Your Lawyer.
Do not try to hide anything on social media from your lawyer. Ask your attorney to review your social media accounts and, together, you can determine your options and the best way forward.
Lastly, remember that, when in doubt, do not post!
If you have any questions, contact Cotten Law. Jeremy has represented tens of thousands of clients charged with offenses such as yours and has hundreds of stellar reviews online. Our offices serve clients in central North Carolina including Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Orange, Sampson, Lee, and Chatham Counties. Give our office a call or click over to our main page to chat live with an assistant 24 hours a day.