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Your social media postings can hurt your criminal defense

Most people in Texas have access to a phone or other electronic device that allows them to post pictures, videos and their thoughts online. Social media has taken the world over and it is not something that will be going away. If you choose to post to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, please know if you are accused of committing a crime, what you post could hurt your criminal defense.

In 2017, a judge who served on the Supreme Court in another state shared his thoughts about social media and its effect on court cases. He basically said if you want to post about your life, fine, but if you post something that incriminates you or allow someone to post something that paints you in a bad light, too bad. If it makes you look guilty, the court may find you guilty.

Are social media postings admissible?

In short, yes. If it is something you, a friend or a random stranger posted for the public to see, it is not illegal for law enforcement officers to use it as evidence. Before a jury can see social media postings, prosecutors must establish that you are the person behind it or a subject in a photo or video. If prosecuting attorneys cannot prove you are the subject of a post or the person responsible for the post, then a judge may not admit it into evidence.

Practice social media responsibility

The best way to keep social media from hurting your criminal case is simply by practicing social media responsibility. Your posts reach more people than you may realize. Think about how you want the world to see you. Think about the consequences that could come with posting certain thoughts, videos or pictures before publishing anything online.

Not always what it seems

If you are facing criminal charges and the prosecution enters one or more social media posts into evidence against you, it does not mean they have a slam-dunk case. Not everything on social media is what it seems. It may be possible to have the evidence thrown out or explained in a way that does not hurt your case. In other words, there may be a way to fight it, just know that it may not be easy to do.

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