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How Social Media Can Impact a Criminal Case

Whether it’s sharing photos/videos of your life or keeping in touch with your friends and family members, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow us to be more connected than ever. However, if you are under criminal investigation, law enforcement officials and prosecutors can use your social media activity against you.

The police and the courts see social media as one of the most conducive sources of information for criminal investigations. Police investigators and District Attorneys alike use software to conduct comprehensive online searches and gather intelligence. 

Additionally, social media companies often hand over their customers’ online content, so long as there is a valid warrant or subpoena. So, even if your profiles are set to private, investigates and prosecutors who develop probable cause to believe you may have posted or shared information related to an ongoing criminal investigation may ultimately gain access to your accounts. 

The following are several ways the police use social media in criminal investigations: 

  • Detect criminal activity from posts, check-ins, and status updates, then obtain probable cause for a search warrant 

  • Identify the location of the alleged offense and suspects 

  • Identify criminals or networks of criminals 

  • Identify witnesses 

  • Collect evidence of criminal activity  

  • Alert communities about a criminal investigation 

  • Obtain assistance from the public 

If you are currently under criminal investigation, avoid sharing the details of your case on social media. Better yet, avoid logging on to your accounts altogether. 

If a family member or friend asks you about your ongoing case on social media, do not respond. Although you may think deleting your social media accounts is a smart move, you could be either charged with destroying evidence or found in contempt of court, which can result in additional criminal penalties. 

If you have been arrested for or charged with a state or federal crime in Denver, contact the Law Offices of David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. today at (303) 622-3281 for a free case evaluation. Available for evening and weekend appointments and jail visits. 

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