Back when there was no Internet, or when social media wasn’t as widespread as it is today, criminal defense lawyers defended their clients without worrying about the risk of their clients’ alibis being compromised. But now, things have changed, and the rise of social media has brought along its own challenges. Many people use their online accounts and social media platforms to document each minute of their daily lives, without realizing the fact that they might be undermining their own privacy. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon to come across people who just post the wrong thing at the wrong time, and get into legal trouble because of it. In any case, personal online accounts can turn out to be the downfall of convicts for a number of reasons.
No More Alibis
One of the first things a prosecutor looks into when facing a case is the convict’s online accounts, even if they are private. Yes, owning a “private” account doesn’t really mean much when it comes to the Internet. No matter how careful you are with your online presence, creating fake accounts and following people on those accounts is not necessarily illegal. There are, in fact, many attorneys who believe that precious information on suspects is gathered through social media long before the criminal is convicted. Pictures and videos posted on the Internet can reveal sensitive details about locations, timing and witnesses—and if this kind of information falls in the hands of the prosecutor during your trial process, then your stated alibis might become dramatically ineffective.
Losing Your Lawyer and Your Case
The first thing that your lawyer will recommend is to completely refrain from using any online account at all costs, and he/she may want to personally check your previous posts. The people from https://tranilaw.com, Denver’s top criminal and DUI defense law firm, also strongly advise their clients against sharing any kind of information online, as any overlooked detail can be critical to the legal process. If you ever find yourself in that position, it would be wise to abide by this golden rule, as it might end up saving your case. In some extreme situations, the use of social media by the defendant may lead to the attorney dropping the case—so make sure you don’t interfere, intentionally or unintentionally, with your attorney’s defense strategies.
Unfortunately, people often do get sentenced for a crime because of their reckless use of social media. The prosecution, and sometimes even private investigators, can easily access the posts you have been tagged in, comments you have received, your private conversations, and seemingly non harmful activities to use them against you in court. This can result in strengthening the prosecution’s case against you, and jeopardizing your attorney’s current strategy.
Whether you did or did not commit the claimed crime, it is wise to stay clear from any action that might affect the course of your trial. This includes avoiding all social media platforms, even when it may seem irrelevant. During the entire process, try to be cooperative, and make sure you keep your lawyer updated about all the details of your life. Always remember that you have professionals by your side—and if they have a concern about your online privacy, it is definitely worth taking their word for it.