What’s the easiest way to damage your chances for a good criminal defense?
If you answered something like, “Talk to the police without an attorney present,” you’re a little behind the times.
These days, an amazing number of people damage their own criminal defense cases by not disconnecting from social media when they should — and they’re handing the police the evidence needed to secure their own convictions.
Prosecutors say that it is now routine for police to do a little data mining even before they interrogate a suspect. That way, they often go into an interview already having information about who the suspect knows, where they go and what they do.
It isn’t even that unusual to find evidence of a crime right on someone’s social media pages — sometimes people are brazen enough to post photos of themselves wearing stolen goods or flashing stolen cash. Other times, they leave anger-filled posts on their own pages or someone else’s pages, telling investigators everything they need to know about why a verbal altercation escalated into an assault or a murder.
Keeping all of that in mind, what should you do to keep yourself from becoming your own worst enemy in court? Experts say that people need to educate themselves about how social media is used in court:
— To show your state of mind before and after a crime was committed, including whether or not you were actually remorseful
— To demonstrate your character through the general content of your posts, especially if you’re trying to prove that you’re of good moral character but your posts suggest otherwise
— To prove that you have a bias or hatred against a specific individual or group, especially if you are accused of a crime motivated by hatred
— To prove that you acted with guilty intentions, especially if you deleted content in order to try to hide your crime
— To prove where you were during the commission of a crime, especially if you have location-tracking services or “check-ins” activated on your social media accounts
No matter what you are suspected of doing, take a break entirely from social media while your case is pending — although you shouldn’t delete anything without the guidance of an attorney.
Source: Click On Detroit, “Solving crimes is a snap thanks to social media,” Kevin Dietz, April 24, 2017