Video is one of the most popular types of media content created today, and many of these videos are uploaded to YouTube where they may, in some instances, go viral. What happens if you post a video that depicts you or someone else committing a crime? Can you be charged in Maryland? The answer is yes, if you post something that depicts you committing a crime.
No matter whether you are a popular YouTube content creator or just someone posting a video for the first time, there is a risk that you could find yourself in trouble with the law if you post footage of criminal activity. The consequences are far reaching in some scenarios, and you may find yourself facing a civil suit, as well.
Here is a look at several recent incidents in which some people have found themselves in hot water after posting a YouTube video.
Parents Convicted of Child Neglect
In 2017, two Frederick County parents pled guilty, through an Alford plea, to child neglect over a number of YouTube videos that showed their kids being “berated and ridiculed.” Subsequent psychological examinations showed the children had mental injuries from these supposed pranks. The parents were sentenced to 10 years in prison, but the judge suspended the sentence, ordering them to serve five years of supervised probation.
The video that elicited the most controversy went viral, causing many outraged viewers to report their other video content as well. In this particular video, one of their sons can be seen sobbing as they scream at him for spilling ink, which he did not do. The ink was placed there for the prank. Other videos depict things like a fake robbery or breaking electronics— basically anything to terrify their five children.
Man Arrested for Housing Venomous Snakes
Earlier this year, a Maryland man found himself facing criminal charges after it was discovered he had 10 venomous snakes in his home, all of which had the potential to deliver a fatal bite.
He also had a popular YouTube channel devoted to snakes. Some of the videos showed him “unboxing” poisonous snakes on camera. Thanks to his YouTube videos, investigators determined that he had absconded with fie venomous snakes, a crocodile, and three alligators, from the Catoctin Zoo and Wildlife Preserve when he left his job in 2017.
When officers searched his apartment, they discovered two dead cobras in a freezer along with other snakes put in plastic bins that were not adequate to keep them from escaping. The man had one Cap Coral Cobra, a Forest Cobra, two Boomslangs, and six Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes.
The man was charged with 23 offenses, including animal cruelty, reckless endangerment, and illegal possession of venomous snakes.
Retaining a Maryland Criminal Attorney
In the event you have been charged with a crime as a result of a YouTube video you posted, it is imperative to speak with a Maryland criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The Law Office of Robert R. Castro specializes in criminal law and can help you through this stressful and difficult time. Contact our office at 301-870-1200 to schedule a consultation.