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Waldorf, MA Criminal Defense: Can Facebook and Other Social Media Posts be Used as Evidence in Criminal Cases?

Yes, postings on Facebook and other social media platforms CAN be used as evidence in criminal cases. If you are charged with a crime, YOUR Facebook and other social media posts can be used as evidence in your criminal case. Likewise, the Facebook and social media posts of OTHER witnesses in your criminal trial can be used as evidence. Importantly, the use of social media posts as criminal evidence is a two-way street. Social media posts can be used to support a criminal conviction, but can ALSO be used to support the innocence of a person charged with a crime. Likewise, with witnesses, their social media posts can be used to enhance or diminish the witness’s credibility. If you have been charged with a crime and social media posts are a key piece of evidence, call us here at the Law Office of Robert Castro at (301) 705-5253. We are available around the clock, 24/7. There may be methods of excluding such evidence or, depending on the case, of ensuring that such evidence is admitted at trial. We are top-rated criminal defense lawyers located in Waldorf, Maryland.

Why are Social Media Posts Allowed as Evidence in Criminal Trials?

Essentially, social media posts are a form of communication. It has long been the case that various types of communications have been admissible as evidence in criminal trials. Thus, a written letter sent via regular mail could be used as evidence. The same is true for a speech made to a crowd or things stated during a conversation with someone at lunch or dinner. From the perspective of criminal law, a social media post is no different than those other types of communication.

What Can be Proven With Social Media Posts?

During a criminal trial, social media posts can be used to potentially prove many aspects of the charges or prove various defenses. Sometimes, the crime charged involves the speaking of certain words. Thus, if you are charged with antitrust price fixing, generally, the prosecution must prove that you conspired with another to fix prices for certain commercial goods in the channels of interstate commerce. Thus, depending on the case, social media posts may be communications that prove that a person communicated with another about fixing prices. Social media posts may also be direct evidence that a crime was committed. Suppose the charge is statutory rape (which means sexual intercourse with an underage person). A social media post could be proof of the crime if the post identifies the person and the sexual activity. On the other hand, a social media post could be some proof of innocence if, for example, the post says something like “we went on a date, but nothing happened.” As another example, a social media post that says “Wow, I got really drunk last night but drove home safely” could be used as proof of a Maryland DUI/DWI crime.

At a minimum, these examples demonstrate that you should be VERY CAREFUL about what you post on social media.

Social media posts may also go to other aspects of the case. Where intent and/or premeditation are elements of the crime, social media posts may help prove — or disprove — those elements. For example, if murder is the charge, then a social media post by the criminal defendant saying “I am going to kill that guy” is evidence of intent and premeditation. Social media posts may also be relevant to issues like motive. A social media post such as “I am really angry that my girl cheated on me” might be proof of motive for a domestic violence charge.

This is one reason that now as a matter of routine, law enforcement officials use legal methods — like subpoenas — to obtain the social media posts of those charged with crimes.

Contact Waldorf, Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert Castro Today

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions contact our office to speak to an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer at (301)705-5137. We are Waldorf, MD Criminal Defense lawyers. Our address is 2670 Crain Highway, Waldorf, MD 20601.