How many hours a day do you spending on social media? The answer may alarm you. According to a recent article, the average American checks his/her social media accounts at least 17 times a day! Law enforcement agencies, however, are well aware of this fact and are using it to their advantage.
Each day, there are more than 100 million active users on Snapchat and 75 million on Instagram, but this pales in comparison to the 1.55 billion (yes, that’s not a typo) who actively use Facebook each month. And what are all those users doing each day? They are posting videos, photos and other tidbits from their lives, including things that may very well get them into legal trouble.
SOCIAL MEDIA ARRESTS
Don’t believe us? Here are just a few of the arrests made thanks to social media and someone’s unwise decision to share his/her activity on a public forum.
- Murder charge after Snapchat Selfie – Last February, a Pennsylvania teen was arrested after posting a picture of himself and a victim’s body on Snapchat. Even though this social media platform is supposed to share information for a few seconds, one recipient took a screenshot and gave it to the authorities. The teenager later confessed to the killing and the police admitted that the selfie was a key piece of evidence in the case.
- Instagram Leads to Weapons Charge – A Sacramento man was arrested last month and booked on suspicion of having an unregistered, concealed weapon after the police viewed a video post made by him on Instagram.
- Drunk Driving Facebook Video - Last month, an Ohio man posted a 12-second video to Facebook that depicted himself drinking while driving. After receiving a tip, the local sheriff’s office arrested the man and charged him with five misdemeanors, including operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
- Facebook Post Leads to Animal Cruelty Arrest – Just this month, a Louisiana man posted a photo of a dog he supposedly killed on purpose due to its constant disruption while he was hunting. Members of the Facebook group, Black Hunters and Fishers, contacted the local police department and the man was arrested the next day on charges of animal cruelty.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU POST
Every day there are stories about students who have been kicked out of college or people who have lost their jobs due to social media posts, as well as others who find themselves in legal trouble due to their online activity. And with millions of people online at any given time, you can bet a healthy percentage of those users are law enforcement officers looking for evidence of crimes within in their jurisdictions. It’s definitely a tool that has helped lead to arrests and convictions. The U.S. Constitution grants criminal defendants protection against self-incrimination, which means you don’t have to tell on yourself. But, when you post vides and photos on social media that show you committing a crime, you’re basically waiving that right. So, think twice before you randomly share photos, videos or make statements that could incriminate you. You may think that only your friends and family are watching, but others may be privy to it, as well.
The Reinhold Law Firm does not condone any illegal activities depicted in this story, nor does it encourage unlawful acts. This post is merely meant to educate readers on the potential hazards of sharing information on public platforms, such as social media. If you have additional questions about self-incrimination or need legal assistance, please contact our office.
The Reinhold Law Firm located in downtown Jacksonville, FL. We concentrate exclusively on criminal law cases, such as drug offenses, domestic violence and DUIs. If you have questions regarding your rights, please contact our office at 904-354-2444 for a free case evaluation.
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