social media

Three Ways Social Media Can Hurt Your Defense

For those of you that still rent DVD’s, a recent movie became available, telling the story of fast food giant McDonald’s. The movie focused on the McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc’s interaction with the brothers as Kroc built the McDonald’s empire. Sadly, the McDonald brothers lost out in the end, and their downfall was reminiscent of another pair of brothers who had a great idea and then saw it slip through their hands. The other doomed duo is the Winklevoss brothers, who famously took Mark Zuckerberg to task for “stealing” Facebook. When Facebook was first rolled out, it was for the exclusive use of college students. However, and as we all know, it has grown exponentially since that time. Facebook has millions of users, all of whom take to the site daily (sometimes multiple times a day) to post a photo or a few lines about what they are currently doing. This is fun and can be a good way to stay in touch with out of state friends and family, but it can also get you in trouble if your posts are of a certain type.

Three ways social media can hurt your defense are best illustrated by looking at a DUI case. Consider these things:

  • If you post a photo or check in to a bar or other place where alcohol is served, and are later pulled over for drinking, your posts can be used as evidence against you in a DUI prosecution. So, before you pose with a shot or a glass of wine, think about how that photo could incriminate you.
  • If you don’t make a post, but a friend tags you, that friend’s post can be used against you. Be careful about who you give tagging rights to, and ask to approve a photo before being tagged. If you get tagged without being asked, you can remove the tag and help to eliminate incriminating information.
  • A time frame can easily be established by following your social media activity. So if you get behind the wheel shortly after having a few drinks, it will be hard to argue that you had “sobered up” before driving.

Some things you can do to minimize the impact social media has on defense of a criminal action is to stay off sites until the next day, or make your accounts private. Even then, there are ways to access your data. And, we understand that taking part in events often times includes posting on social media. For those times where you are not able to keep damaging information off the internet, we can help. Our job is to analyze all of the evidence and create a defense that will work for your case.

 

For more information about DUI cases, call our office today. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.

Two Ways Social Media Plays A Role In Your Criminal Case

These days nearly everyone has a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. These outlets can be a great way to keep up with friends and family, and to share what is going on in your life. But there are certain things that should be kept off the internet, and remain private. One reason it is important to keep things to yourself is because what you post online could end up being used as evidence against you if something bad happens. Couples going through a divorce are advised to refrain from posting suggestive photos while seeking child custody, and are also counseled to refrain from posting shots of expensive purchases or vacations if property distribution is an issue. The reason is that when you put things online that show where you are and what you are doing, if those things are not in line with what you are trying to achieve you will have a hard time overcoming the image you’ve created. In a criminal case it is just as important to be careful about what you post to your social media accounts. It might seem acceptable to snap a shot of your dinner and glass of wine while out with friends and #nightout, but if you wind up being pulled over on suspicion of DUI later, that photo might be the evidence that shows you have had too much to drink.

This issue is not new, and it has been reported here at home with a great deal of frequency. One case that made headlines is the “2 drunk 2 care” driver. In that case, Kayla Mendoza tweeted this phrase a few short hours before she was in an accident that took the lives of two young girls. Mendoza was found guilty and sentenced to 24 years behind bars. This is one example of how social media plays a role in your case, but here are two other ways your case can be impacted by the world wide web:

  • Your “friends” on Facebook or “followers” on Twitter can tag you, and those images can be used against you. It might seem harmless, and who doesn’t want to be tagged in a photo so it is shared on multiple timelines? But, if the post is potentially damaging, take a minute to “untag” yourself or ask your friend to remove the image until a later time.
  • Judges and attorneys are people too, and many of them have social media accounts. You never know who is connected to who, so be careful what you say and what you post.

If you have been arrested and there is damaging information out there online, you must aggressively defend the case against you. We have experience with these types of issues, and can help you develop a strategy that works. Call us today for more information.

For answers to questions about how social media can impact your criminal defense case, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you reach workable solutions. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Social Media Crimes

computer cordsIt has already been shown that what you post on social media may later be used against you. Law enforcement officials around the country are turning to social media posts more and more to find evidence of crimes. A selfie at a bar  posted moments before a DUI arrest can do wonders for the prosecution’s case against you, and threats you post may help lead authorities to your door when the victim of your rant shows up badly bruised.

Now, a new turn in the realm of social medial and its impact on crimes. The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving social media giant, Facebook. The case goes like this:

● In 2010 Facebook user Anthony Elonis posted comments about killing wife.

● Elonis did not stop with comments directed towards his wife, he also targeted an FBI agent in his online posts.

● Elonis claims the nearly word for word copy from a satirical comedy group was nothing more than “art” and is protected free speech.

The highest court in the land will now get to decide the issue. And, their ruling could have far reaching implications. Typically, in cases of threats, the test is not whether any actual injury occurs, but whether a reasonable person would be in fear of an injury. Prosecutors are taking a hard line on this case, given today’s climate of cyber stalking and bullying. The argument is instances like Columbine and Sandy Hook can be avoided if threats of violence are taken more seriously. Whatever the outcome, criminal defense attorneys across the nation will be watching the case with interest. It is our job to stay on top of changes in the law, and keep up with trends. Continually educating ourselves on important legal issues is how we best help our clients.

If you have been arrested for on criminal charges, call a criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for more information. Contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation. We build a defense that fits your case and the legal climate, and advocate for favorable result.

The Role Of Social Media In Criminal Law

facebookThe use of social media is on the rise, with no end in sight. But did you know what you post to your Facebook or Instagram can have an impact on how a criminal case is decided? Photos, quotes and other stories you post reflect on your attitude and reputation. That reflection is not always positive. For example, if you are charged with a DUI and frequently post photos and other information where alcohol is involved, your fight for a lesser sentence could be compromised. Likewise, if you routinely “check in” at bars or nightclubs while on probation you may risk losing probation depending on the terms.

More and more law enforcement are utilizing social media in their investigations into criminal activity. While most sites offer privacy safeguards, those controls are not always failsafe and what you post online could contribute to how the Judge and jury view you. A USA Today article is illustrative of the issue:

● Selfies: self-portraits are all the rage, everywhere you go you see college co-eds snapping photos of themselves. But when these are posted online, your face becomes more easily recognizable. In cases where the identity of the accused is questionable, the more often you put your picture on social media, the more likely you are to be recognized.

● Disagreements: the internet seems to be overrun with people disagreeing over one thing or another, in a very public forum. Some people simply can’t resist the urge to comment on someone else’s political or personal rants. But singling people out on Facebook may lead authorities to you if and when something unsavory happens to that person.

● Connections: The beauty of social media is that you can easily connect to a lot of people quickly, and once you do there is no shortage of the site “suggesting” with whom you should interact. However, the more “friends” you have in common with people, the more potential witnesses there are to wrongful act.

The moral of the story is to be careful what you post. When in doubt, leave it off your social media sites. In a criminal proceeding, your character becomes your most valuable asset. What a shame it would be to be the cause of your own unsatisfactory result.

If you are charged with a crime, call an attorney knowledgeable about all aspects of criminal defense. Experienced criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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