How Your Social Media Privacy Settings Can Impact Your Case

  • Sep 3 2018

While sharing your life online can be a great way to maintain relationships with friends and family, what you post on social media sites can be used against you by Miami law enforcement. We have all heard the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and this is very true for social media. Before you are charged, you need to update your social media privacy settings. Read on to learn why your social media privacy settings may be putting you at risk of Miami criminal prosecution.

How Do Law Enforcement Use Social Media Accounts in Investigations?

Think about what you do when you are interested in someone new. You probably find them on social media and scroll through their timeline, learning who they know and what they’ve been up to. Miami law enforcement do the same thing when it comes to criminal investigations. When they have a suspect of interest, they will log into social media accounts and look suspects up to see what they can learn about them and if they can find potentially incriminating evidence.

However, they can only do this if you have not activated your privacy settings. Activating your privacy settings makes it so that other social media users cannot access our information unless we agree to give them access to it. For example: you can require people add you as a friend on Facebook before they get access to your timeline, allowing you to screen this “friend” before you grant them access. Privacy settings often further allow us to restrict access to our information in various ways, like allowing only certain friends with access to certain kinds of posts we make.

Simply put, if you do not activate your privacy settings, you are putting yourself at risk. Nothing can stop Miami law enforcement from accessing and using information you make public against you in court, so it is to your advantage to activate your privacy settings sooner rather than later.

Can’t You Just Delete Your Account?

We are often asked by our Miami criminal defense clients whether they can simply delete their social media accounts to get rid of potentially incriminating evidence. Unfortunately, if you do this once your case has commenced, you may face additional criminal charges related to tampering with evidence or obstruction of access to evidence. One example: if you are charged with boat DUI, and delete your Instagram account because it contains a picture of you drinking on the day of the alleged incident. That said, you may deactivate your account (taking it offline but not deleting it) at any point and that will at least make it a bit more difficult for law enforcement to obtain whatever evidence they need.

How Can I Update My Privacy Settings?

Below are links to step-by-step tutorials you can use to update your social media privacy settings. Remember: the stricter your settings, the more you are protected, and, no one will stop being your friend just because you went private!

Charged With a Crime?

At Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC, we are passionate about defending our clients’ rights and have extensive experience representing Miami criminal defense clients. We truly hope you will never need to use our services, and strongly encourage you to update your social media privacy settings today. However, if you have been charged with a crime or are under investigation, and you are concerned that your social media activity might put you at risk, contact us immediately.

Posted in: Criminal