It’s incredible how much technology has changed how we connect with people over the years. Social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have completely revolutionized how we share information and personal updates. And while these sites are great for connecting with friends, family or networking opportunities, they can ultimately be very damaging for a criminal case.
Can Social Media Be Used Against Me in a Texas Criminal Case?
If you have a pending criminal case or believe you are under investigation for a criminal case, social media sites can have a powerful impact on the outcome before you even arrive in court. Any words, videos or photos may seem harmless at first, but can demonstrate the following:
- Your location: were you near the crime?
- Who you were with: were you with potential witnesses or accomplices?
- What you did: your actions leading up to the time of the crime
- Your feelings: was the crime premeditated?
For example, say you post a status telling the world how angry you were at a person. The next day, the two of you get into a fight and you’re arrested and charged with assault. Prosecutors can use that social media post against you to demonstrate your state of mind, prove you were the aggressor and even imply that it was a premeditated act of violence. Other types of damaging posts include:
- Announcements of behavior, which can include threats, bragging, wanting to go out and drink excessively, depression
- Descriptions and photos of weapons, drugs or paraphernalia
- Statements, photos or check-ins, which are usually most damaging in DWI cases involving multiple bars at certain times
- Descriptions or images that can implicate you in more serious crimes, including larger amounts of drugs or weapons
While you may think your personal information on social media sites are protected because you’ve adjusted your privacy settings, this guarantees nothing. Most social media sites work together with law enforcement agencies to show your “protected” information. Do not assume what you put online will not make its way into a police officer, prosecutor or jury’s hands.
Mike Goolsby is a Dallas criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights following an arrest. He hasn’t lost a case in more than 15 years and doesn’t intend to start now.