Social media is becoming the number one tool used by police and prosecutors to gather evidence and solve a case. Police are no longer limited to information collected through in-person criminal investigation. Instead, they can review a suspect’s social media accounts to find evidence against them. That means that every time a suspect uses their smartphone or computer, they are likely building the case against themselves.
If you are charged with a crime, you must resist the urge to talk about it on social media. If you don't, then, as police will inform you when reading you your Miranda rights, anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. That’s why it’s important to stay silent -- even on social media -- and talk only to an experienced attorney such as Michael P. Manley. He knows how to protect you on social media and can help you with your case.
What police can find on your social media accounts
It’s important to know how police use social media. They can find new evidence, including:
- Incriminating posts such as photographs and messages
- A suspect’s whereabouts before and after the crime
- The identities of other suspects or witnesses
You should know that it’s incredibly simple for the police to access your activity on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s easy for the general public, too. But police can also seek search warrants to obtain all texts, tweets, photos, and writings. And that material can be used to convict you.
Additionally, police can examine comments made on posts and make connections. Prosecutors can also issue a summons to have your social media writings preserved – so even if you delete your accounts, the provider has a record of what you posted. And they will turn it all over to police.
Be careful what you say and do on social media
Police and prosecutors can also get records from cell phone towers in order to pinpoint a suspect’s location via GPS. That kind of evidence is often key to showing a suspect was at the scene of a crime and can prove a timeline of events. But police first have to prove that they have probable cause that a crime was committed and that the suspect may be linked to the crime. That’s because the United States Supreme Court ruled in June that the public still has a right to privacy when it comes to their cell phones. So, police must get a search warrant first to access that information. (However, no such warrant is needed in the case of emergencies such as an active shooting.)
If you are charged with a crime or possibly under criminal investigation, you need to quit social media completely. If anyone asks a question about your case, do not answer. If the police have a warrant for your cell phone, you should contact an experienced attorney such as Michael P. Manley as soon as possible.