Social Media Posts May be Used in Court Against You in Your Criminal Case

Posted by Richard Lawson | Oct 08, 2016 | 0 Comments

Be Careful When You Use Social Media:

One of the oldest legal precedents is what a person says to the police can and will be used against them.  Most people understand Miranda warnings.  It is a mystery to me why people forget that what they post openly online can also be used against them. 

“Danger Will Robinson” (For the young people, this is a reference from the television show Lost in Space):

Suppose the police charge someone a with DUI, and the defense plans to present proof that the accused does not frequently drink.  There is nothing that prevents a prosecutor from going on the defendant's social media accounts and using pictures of them drinking against the accused. Even out of context, Facebook posts can be used against criminal defendants.  The results can be devastating to a person's defense. 

Additionally, when a person is a “friend” of someone else online, those associations can and will be used against them in a criminal proceeding.  Depending on the number and frequency of contacts online, the prosecution may be able to prove intention, motive, and opportunity right from social media posts.  The prosecution may also be able to discover people who are parties to a crime, the legal term used for an accomplice in Georgia.

Further, social media associations can cause the police to investigate an innocent person because of his or her contacts with so-called online "friends."  The old adage is still true; be careful with whom you associate.  The police are prone to round up the usual suspects when investigating a crime.  

I am not a killjoy.  Have fun on social media.  However, be careful what you post and with whom you contact.  Be careful online and teach your children that the same rules of civility apply to the real word as well as in cyberspace.  For more Georgia DUI Information, visit our site weekly for updates. 

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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