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How social media can affect criminal cases

If you are facing criminal charges in Wisconsin, it is wise to understand the ways in which your social media profiles and postings may impact your case. Nowadays, many people have social media accounts across a broad variety of different mediums, and just as you may use these channels to find out more about a colleague, babysitter, a potential date or what have you, you can expect that whoever is prosecuting your criminal case may do the same. So, before you post to any of your social media accounts, understand how doing so may affect your case.

Why you should not assume privacy

First and foremost, it is important to recognize that simply switching your social media settings to “private” is probably not going to keep prosecutors from viewing your online profiles. Many social media platforms work with law enforcement officials when the need arises, and representatives for these channels may choose to reveal “private” information to law enforcement officials who request it, which can potentially damage your case. Prosecutors also may comb through your online profiles to find evidence of criminal acts, such as videos, or they may be on the hunt for indications of gang affiliations or connections with other criminal entities. Regardless of what they are looking for in your profiles, reviewing them is not something that requires a warrant. Therefore, it is wise to anticipate your profiles will be closely monitored and refrain from posting anything that could potentially damage your case.

Other things prosecutors may look for in your online accounts

In addition to any evidence of your affiliation with criminal entities, prosecutors may comb through your social media profiles in an attempt to gather evidence about your whereabouts at a particular time. For example, they may want to see if you “checked in” at a bar or club before allegedly committing a criminal act, or they may be on the hunt for blatant images demonstrating drug use, drinking and driving or a similar illegal act. They may also explore your social media profiles if you are charged with a crime against someone in particular to see if you have ever made any threats or inappropriate comments about that person. Prosecutors may, too, search your profiles in search of any images that may connect you to a crime, such as photos of you with stolen merchandise.

For more information about how social media may affect your criminal case, consider getting in contact with an attorney.

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