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How social media affects criminal cases

Social media affects every aspect of society. If you use any social media site or app, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, you should be aware of the impact this may have on your criminal proceeding. Anything you post on social media may turn into evidence to convict you of a criminal offense.

You are probably stressing out about what law enforcement may find on your social mediaprofiles and what you can do about it. Here is an explanation of how social media can impact the case against you.

Social media evidence

Your social media pages portray your state of mind, how you communicate, where you go and what you do. Depending on how frequent you use different sites, you may "check in" to locations and film videos of yourself and the situations around you. When you are facing charges, law enforcement may take a look at any status updates, pictures, videos, daily habits, interests, comments and network of friends on your profiles. This information may give prosecutors the evidence they need to convict you.

What you should do

Of course, it is best to avoid posting anything risky or incriminating on social media in the first place. You should always be careful about what you post online, because it becomes public information. You may want to delete content on your profiles, but the prosecutor may consider this to be an illegal destruction of evidence. If you destroy evidence, this may make your penalties worse. Another thing you should do is update the privacy settings on your social media profiles. If you set your pages to private and only allow your friends to see your posts, this gives you an extra layer of protection.

Managing your social media accounts during a criminal case may be stressful and difficult. It is best to follow your attorney's advice on how to proceed.

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Law Offices of
James N. Papirmeister, Esq.

Law Offices of James N. Papirmeister, Esq.
8630 Fenton St., Suite 320
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Office Number: 301-589-2100
Afterhours Number: 301-367-6500

Fax: 301-588-8848
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As Published in Washingtonian Magazine | Washington's Best Legal Minds | 2013