Avoiding Social Media After an Arrest

Phone showing many social media apps.

If you have been arrested and accused of a crime, be aware that anything you post on social media may be used against you in court. While you may be tempted to complain about the events of your arrest by tweeting, instagramming, or updating your status on Facebook, social media can be a key source of evidence for the prosecutor in criminal investigations.

Anyone who has been charged with a criminal offense in Illinois should be especially careful to avoid revealing any information that will lead to conviction, as penalties may include jail time, fines, penalty assessments and other costs. A conviction will also mean a criminal record that will follow you forever and negatively impact many aspects of your life.

At this sensitive time, you need all the help you can get. The experienced and seasoned Illinois criminal law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand the seriousness of your situation and offer aggressive representation for clients facing criminal charges. We know the courts and the criminal justice system, and how to plea bargain, negotiate guidelines and recognize when to take your case to trial. We offer a free consultation to gather information about your situation and look at all viable defense options, so call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation.

How Social Media Can Work Against You

Law enforcement is increasingly using social media to gather information on criminal suspects and to build cases against them. In fact, chances are that prosecutors are searching social media for information on you as soon as they get your case. A 2013 survey of approximately 500 law enforcement agencies by the International Association of Chiefs of Police showed that over 86 of the agencies used social media when conducting criminal investigations.This pays off when people who are used to updating their status and posting pictures on Facebook or other sites thoughtlessly post information that can be used against them.

An example is the case of an Illinois woman who stole clothing and jewelry from a boutique and posted Facebook photos of herself wearing stolen items. These photos were recognized and became evidence that made it easy for her to be convicted.

You cannot reasonably expect privacy about information you willingly post on social media sites. Even if you haven’t posted anything incriminating, other people can wind up getting access to your followers or friends list without your being aware of it and sharing things like private photos or comments about your behavior.

Common Media Sources

Even if you have set privacy settings to restrict access, law enforcement can use tactics such as creating a fictitious profile to gain access to your information. They can also view content you post on a friend’s public page and can request your content from the social network directly, via subpoenas or warrants.

The following are common sources of evidence:
• profile pages
• likes and dislikes
• check-ins
• list of friends and comments by friends about you, your activities and whereabouts
• group memberships
• messages, tweets, emails and texts
• GPS locations
• videos, photos, and tags
• login timetables.

How to Prevent Social Media Problems

If you suspect the possibility of being arrested, you should do the following:
• Temporarily suspend your social media accounts – It is best if no one can access anything about you on social media while you are in the midst of a criminal process.
• If you cannot bring yourself to get off social media completely, ensure that your online profile settings are marked private. This may not keep everything private, but it will make it more difficult for law enforcement to view without a subpoena or warrant.
• Do not accept any new friend requests, especially from people you don’t know, and ask your current friends not to post anything about you and to take down anything already posted.
• Avoid nasty, harassing, threatening, or menacing comments, even those made in jest.
• Search for your name online, and show your attorney anything that may affect your case.
• Be careful about information you include in any kind of digital or wireless communication, text messages and emails. They can be accessed from a recipient.

Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.

Criminal law is complicated and confusing, and your future is at stake; if you are accused of a crime in Illinois, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find. Your case may seem impossible, but with skillful representation you have a chance. Remember, the law places a heavy burden on the government, and you have to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Illinois criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process to come up with an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.

We are aggressive litigators, and we will work with you to answer all your questions and make sure you fully understand the facts surrounding your case, including how to deal with social media. We represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, and the greater Chicagoland area.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation.