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How Social Media Posts Can Be Used Against You in Court

Your Updates Could Cost You Your Case

Policemen inform those they arrest that anything they say can and will be used against them in court. While it’s easy to heed this warning in the presence of law enforcement officers and filter your dialogue appropriately, less simple, but equally important, is your obligation to watch what you say while you await your trial.

Whether you’re facing a criminal defense proceeding or family law case, your online posts could be introduced as evidence. Courts view social media profiles as discoverable proof because there is no expectation of privacy, it does not violate any privilege, and it can be relevant to the case at hand. As such, it’s important to monitor your online presence.

Criminal Defense Cases

While there may not be a post that documents the exact crime you’re accused of, the prosecutor can use other updates to support their allegations. For example, if you were arrested for a DUI, and the court finds that you checked-in at a bar, responded to a drinking event invitation, or were tagged in a photo with alcohol in the background around the time of your arrest, your case becomes harder to defend.

Family Law Cases

If you have a family law case pending, your spouse or coparent could use your social media posts to prove your parental ineptitude in an attempt to increase their likelihood of receiving primary custody. Compelling evidence could include photos or statuses that show:

  • Acts of violence
  • Check-ins at inappropriate locations
  • Drug use
  • Unfit living conditions

Additionally, your spouse or coparent could use any exhibitions of wealth to fight for a greater alimony or child support award. They could discredit any objections you have to paying higher amounts by showing posts that document your frivolous spending.

Personal Injury Cases

Any posts you make on social media can be used against your claims in court. So, if you assert that you hurt your leg in your accident, but you were tagged in a story about going for a run with a friend, the defense will question the legitimacy of your personal injury case. These contradicting posts could destroy your chance of a fair settlement.

Avoid Inappropriate Online Behavior

When you have a case pending in court, it’s best to take a break from social media. If you find that completely unplugging is too difficult, at the very least, limit your activity to consuming content rather than creating it. Overall, you should not post, comment, or like updates about:

  • Any new, extravagant purchase you made
  • Partying or drinking
  • Your case
  • Your coparent or spouse
  • Your new relationship

Additionally, you should not delete your social media altogether, as it could lead one to believe that you had something to hide.

Before uploading anything, consider how the other party, their lawyer, and the ruling judge would interpret your post – because, odds are, they will see it.

For additional information regarding social media during a divorce, you can also review: The Risks of Using Social Media During Divorce ProceedingsĀ 

For assistance with your criminal defense, family law, or personal injury case, contact Nichols Dixon online or at (405) 294-1511.