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How your social media account can be used against you

How your social media account can be used against you

I am finding more and more of my clients running into issues related to their use or access of various social media accounts (such as Facebook or Myspace). Previously I've posted on my domestic violence blog about the importance of CDV defendants checking their Facebook accounts and how the use of such sites may implicate a no-contact bond.

If you are involved in any contested legal proceeding you should fully expect for the other side, their attorney or investigator doing an Internet search for you and any social media content you may have posted. Not only does this apply in criminal cases but also in other types of cases such as divorce or custody actions, personal injury or business disputes.

In the context of a criminal case here are some following examples of how the content that you post online can be used against you:

1.    If a condition of your bond requires that you avoid a place or person and your page shows otherwise you could face a bond revocation and a one way ticket back to jail.

2.    When the prosecutor decides whether or not to extend a favorable plea bargain, or offer PTI, they may consider any content they uncover online - and based on their own personal and entirely subjective opinions may hold anything they find against you (without you ever being notified).

3.    During trial information posted online could be presented as evidence against you, or to challenge your credibility.

4.    If you are even in a sentencing hearing anyone involved in your case, including the victim, can print out and bring anything they find online to Court and hand it up to the judge.

I have never seen a case where someone's Facebook or Myspace account ever helped them in Court. I have seen several circumstances where someone's case has been negatively impacted. Because of this I advise all of my clients to either disable their account completely, or at a minimum to ensure that their pages are set to private.


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