If you have ever watched a legal drama, you were likely familiar with Miranda rights before you were ever arrested. “You have the right to remain silent” is a phrase that is utilized so ubiquitously in popular culture that it is safe to say that the vast majority of Americans over the age of 12 are aware that if they are ever arrested, they don’t have to speak until they have a lawyer present.
Yet, few Americans have thought critically about how what they say – and post – can be used against them after they’ve been arrested and formally accused of criminal wrongdoing. As a result, far too many individuals unwittingly compromise the strength of their criminal defense by texting, emailing and posting things that prosecutors can – and likely will – use against them in a court of law.
Act as if you’re always being recorded
Regardless of whether your privacy settings on social media are maxed out, you’ve never shared your email password with anyone and you only text people that you trust, you need to act as if every single thing you put in writing on any electronic platform is “fair game” for prosecutors until your state or federal case is fully resolved.
Too many criminal defendants learn the hard way that prosecutors regularly troll social media and other electronic communications for evidence. Even a seemingly innocuous statement or post – if interpreted in just the right way – can compromise your ability to remain free.
If you can’t realistically stop utilizing electronic communication at this time, seek legal guidance about what you need to avoid discussing and implying until your case is complete. A failure to be proactive in this way could cost you dearly.