Can Posting on Social Media Impact My Criminal Case?

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
March 2, 2023

It is no question that these days social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) play a significant role in our everyday lives. Most people are on social media every day, on multiple different platforms. For many, posting on social media has become such a common and natural action that no one ever really pauses to think about what they are posting. 

While many people assume that their posts, especially private messages, cannot be used against them legally, that is not the case. Everything posted on a social media platform can be subject to being found by law enforcement and used against you in a court of law. As a knowledgeable criminal defense firm with over 65 years of experience, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. can help you tackle the legal complexities of your case and ensure you avoid actions that could be detrimental to your case. 

4 Ways That Social Media Could Impact a Criminal Case

No matter the privacy settings enabled on your social media accounts, it is important to understand that it is a mistake to believe that no one (especially law enforcement) can see your online activity. When you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial to be careful about what you post online.

1. Location Tracking 

Most social media platforms allow users to share their location in their post. Most of these platforms use this feature to their advantage. However, even if a user does not voluntarily include their location in the post, some social media platforms can and do track their users’ location. Law enforcement can then obtain this data and information and use it against you in your case. 

2. Mental State

The best thing to do is to avoid posting on social media altogether throughout the entire case, especially when experiencing emotional distress or other negative emotions. Words and thoughts posted online can easily be used against you in court. Online posts can be taken out of context and misconstrued in court, even if your intent is different than what the prosecution is claiming. Even a post coming off as slightly angry or irritated could be used to support the prosecution’s claim that you are hot-headed or violent. A singular post could provide evidence that you could very much commit the crime you are being accused of, even if your post were about an entirely different matter.

3. Private Conversation

Most social media platforms allow their users access to “private” messaging. However, those messages are almost always accessible to the government and could serve as evidence to help convict a defendant of a crime or award one party legal rights instead of the other. 

Online conversations between parties can be brought up in court and stir up complications in a criminal case. When a conversation is held online, many people communicate without a filter, especially when they cannot see each other. While it is understandable to send something without thinking, when it comes to a criminal case, even the smallest insult or slip up could be used against you.

4. Permanence 

We have all heard it: once it is online, it is there forever. Once something is posted on social media, it is safest to assume that it is there forever, because it could help you exercise caution. Even if something is deleted right away, the information can be copied by almost anyone, including the social media platform. People can also take screenshots of the post and circulate it without your knowledge.

Consult With a Talented Defense Attorney at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C.

It can almost be instinctual to post on social media when something big happens, such as an impending criminal case. However, it is critical to exercise caution when it comes to social media. At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., we help our clients navigate the complicated waters of being involved in a criminal case. Our job is to protect your rights and best interests, and we will go above and beyond to ensure your case reaches the best possible outcome. Schedule a free consultation by completing our contact form or calling (215) 822-7575 today.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
March 2, 2023
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.