Social media platforms are a great way to connect with loved ones, learn about current events, and find groups of people who share your interests. And for the majority of users, social media use is generally harmless.
However, if you have been charged with a drug crime in Ohio, what was once a fun way to share pictures and jokes with your friends and acquaintances online can become evidence used against you. In this blog post, a drug crime attorney from The Bangerter Law Office in Northeast Ohio, discusses how the use of social media may complicate your drug crime defense and steps you can take.
Social Media and Criminal Evidence
According to a 2022 report by the Congressional Research Service, over 70% of United States adults used social media in 2021. What does this mean for you if you used social media and have been charged with a drug crime?
When individuals post content without audience restrictions on social media platforms, anyone, including law enforcement, can access this content without a court order. However, the audience that can access certain information that individuals post on social media may be limited by user choice or platform policies. On the other hand, law enforcement may require social media platforms to provide access to certain restricted information via a warrant, subpoena, or other court order.
Next, let’s discuss some steps you can take.
Don’t Incriminate Yourself
Even if you haven’t yet been charged with a drug crime, it’s wise not to share personal information or potentially incriminating photos on social media. However, suppose you are facing drug crime charges. In that case, it is critical that you carefully consider everything you post online and monitor any photos friends share of you on their social media accounts.
Many people have faced serious criminal charges after posting information on social media that prosecutors were able to use against them. It would be best if you also refrained from posting anything about your criminal charges on your social media accounts. Remember, criminal investigators frequently search social media platforms for information on defendants. As the saying goes, anything you post likely “can and will be used against you” in the future.
What If I Already Posted Something Considered Incriminating?
We know investigators and prosecutors can search your social media for drug-related posts. They can also find posts and photos in which you were tagged. Even if you haven’t posted anything about drug use before your arrest, investigators can use your posts to find out where you were and establish a timeline. For example, if you were at a friend’s where there’s been drug use and then later make a post about being there.
If you’ve posted potentially incriminating photos or statements on social media and are worried about their impact on your drug crime case, hire an Ohio drug crime attorney immediately. Your lawyer can help you mount a strong defense, even if social media evidence can be used against you.
Should I Delete Posts or Even My Social Media Account?
Deleting individual posts or your whole social media account may not protect you. Investigators may view deleted posts as an attempt to destroy evidence, hurting your defense. Before deleting your social media accounts or incriminating photos or posts, consult an experienced drug crime lawyer. Deleting your photos, posts, or account could hurt your case.
Additional Steps You Can Take
If you’re facing drug charges and you believe your social media could be used against you, there are steps you can take. First, set your social media privacy settings to the highest privacy setting, and don’t accept friend requests from strangers. Untag yourself from friends’ photos, even if they don’t show drug use or compromising behavior. Tagged photos help investigators find witnesses. Make their work difficult.
Next, stop posting. This is a time when you should stay off all social media. Posting online about your case is unwise. Also, only email or text your attorney about your case. Once you send an email or text, you lose control of it. Even with trusted people, avoid writing about anything to do with your case. Do not post online about programs you must complete as part of your case, such as rehab or abstinence. Ask friends not to post photos or comments about you or your programs.
Bangerter Law Office: Your Drug Crime Attorneys in Northeast Ohio
If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, you must discuss any issues or concerns with an experienced drug crime attorney who regularly fights drug crime cases in Ohio. To provide the best defense in your case, your lawyer needs to know what information about you is available on social media. Social media posts can sometimes work in your favor. If evidence can be used in your defense, your lawyer can examine it and consider the best ways to incorporate it into your case.
The Bangerter Law Office’s founding attorney Matthew Bangerter is a criminal defense lawyer with over 14 years of practicing law in Ohio and nearly three years as a former Assistant Prosecutor. His experience on the other side of the aisle will help him anticipate what the prosecution in your case may plan. If you have been charged with a drug crime, call the Bangerter Law Office at (440) 409-7898 to schedule your case evaluation and get the information and legal answers you seek. You can also fill out our contact form here.
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The information in this blog post (post) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
The Bangerter Law Office
4124 Erie St
Willoughby, OH 44094