Can Your Social Media Presence Be Used Against You in Court

Facebook currently has 1.06 billion active users, and other popular social networking sites such as Twitter and Pinterest have several million users each. Chances are, it is likely that you have a some sort of social media presence. Although social media can help keep you update date with your friends or your industry, if you don’t take the necessary precautions to protect yourself, information posted online can end up being used against you in your court proceedings if you are not extremely careful.

 

 

In the past several years, as online sharing has become more prevalent in all of our lives, there have been several lawsuits and criminal cases that have utilized information that was shared on social media platforms as a major pieces of evidence. Therefore, if you are involved in a lawsuit of any kind, it is imperative not only that you find a skilled lawyer, but also that you take care not to post anything that could compromise your side of any potential legal action. For example, if you are suing your employer for a life-altering injury that you suffered on the job, you need to make sure that you do not post any photographs or status updates that can be used as proof that your claim is not actually valid.

 

 

Most people believe that posting information privately or deleting information that they should not have shared will protect them from dealing with any legal or social ramifications. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case. Many judges have ruled that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy on a social media site, and this has allowed lawyers not only to gain access to valuable information, but to use it in court. Keep in mind that deleting something online does not mean that it cannot be recovered. Facebook keeps a backup of everything that you delete for at least 90 days, and some sites never purge this information. You can’t always be certain that something is gone forever, just because you hit “delete.” If you are uncertain whether or not it is a good idea to post something, you should skip the urge to share your thoughts or photos altogether.

 

 

The best way to avoid having information that you’ve provided yourself online used against you is to make sure you utilize your social media accounts as a method for staying in touch with other people but not to discuss or post anything that could be held against you later. People have lost their jobs due to Facebook posts that highlight their bad behavior, whether it’s explicit or more subtle. The potential legal consequences of making an unwise post could be much worse. By sticking to neutral posts and conversations that do not share a lot of needless information about your life, you can neutralize most of the legal risk associated with using social media.

 

As a defense attorney for Criminal cases, Finebloom & Haenel partner David Haenel, Esq. has a long history of representing clients for DUI and other criminal offenses in Florida. After a stint in the State Attorney’s office, where he was named 2004 State of Florida DUI Prosecutor of the Year, David has used his knowledge to help train prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in dealing with all aspects of traffic-related crime. He is a frequent speaker on many topics including DUI and evidentiary breath testing. Visit him at www.fightyourcase.com.