Sunday, March 22, 2015

BAD IDEAS: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & your Case



Why's that?  

1.  The internet has made catching criminals SOOOO easy for police & prosecutors.

Really.  It's like shooting fish in a barrel.  Here's a couple of examples...
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

a) You're charged with DWI.  The prosecutor searches your name on Google and comes up with several photos of you doing keg stands in college.  BOOM.  Goes right into the trial folder and will be shown to a jury.  

b) You're charged with assault in the 3rd degree.  The police searches for your name and comes across your Twitter account.  You made a couple racist jokes (purely in jest) and it turns out the guy you hit in a bar room brawl was black.  BOOM.  Goes into the trial folder. 

c) You're charged with a speeding ticket.  Prosecutor searches for you online and finds your instagram account riddled with pictures of fast cars, posters of Fast & Furious, etc etc etc. BOOM.  She'll try to introduce it as evidence of a pattern of speeding or a desire to speed.  

2.  ANYTHING written online ---status updates, Tweets, captions---are Admissions.

I've covered this in a couple posts.  If you verbally say anything or write can be used against you.  So don't.  Even things you've said in the past can come back to haunt you. 

Previous Tweets, Facebook posts, photos, things you've "LIKED" on FB, groups you belong to, etc etc etc.  These things can all be turned against you in a criminal case.  

3.  The internet lasts FOREVER.  Once it's out's out there.  

Oh, but I could delete my account!   Nope.  That stuff is stored on servers at Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.  All it takes is a valid subpoena for Facebook, Twitter, etc  to produce things from your online accounts in a criminal case.  Therefore, I caution you against putting offensive things online that could be construed in a negative light against you.  


I'm not advocating for you to never use the internet again.  Just be smart about it.  

I advise all my clients charged with crimes to suspend their Facebook and Twitter accounts during the criminal case.  It's not worth it.  Don't give the prosecutor a chance to google you and discover more ammunition against you.  I know it's hard to unplug...but when your freedom on the line it should be an easy decision. 

BY:  Attorney Mike Cyr 

P:  607-229-5184
Twitter:   @ithacadwi