If you happen to be like most people, you probably divulge a lot of your life on social media. While it may not seem harmful to talk about your day, share your fears or engage with friends and family over Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform, you may want to practice some care during a criminal case.
According to the American Bar Association, lawyers can use social media in evidence discovery.
When do courts allow social media evidence?
When it comes to direct messages and social media posts, there is a lot of metadata that the court can use to prove the authorship. Before anyone can admit social media evidence, it has to be relevant and it has to be authentic. The court can use social media to show your state of mind, how you interact with others. The court can also use social media to try to prove where you were at a certain time.
When is social media private?
If you have a private social media account, you may think that no one can access your account. Keep in mind that those who already have access to your information can show it to the prosecution. A lawyer cannot use deceptive practices to view your social media, however. The attorney should not try to engage with you but should instead engage through your representation.
When it comes to social media, take care not to post anything incriminating and be careful about what you post. While attorneys cannot violate ethical boundaries, they can use social media if discovered properly.