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The number of social media users has exploded over the past decade. Seven out of ten United States residents have at least one social media account. Facebook alone has over two billion users, and Twitter has over 320 million. That doesn’t even include Instagram, Snap Chat, TikTok, and others, whose combined usage accounts for billions more social media users. Almost everyone has a computer or cellphone and is using them to share details that could impact your case.
With a subpoena, everything could become available to law enforcement, even private account details. Your personal information, who you associate with, images, and videos, party invitations, and anything else you can think of are available. Some folks with an entrepreneurial spirit are even accused of using social media as a tool to sell drugs (click here). As you read on, you will see why this is a terrible idea.
The police see social media as a tool to harvest vast amounts of information for law enforcement investigations. Police investigators now routinely run multiple and comprehensive searches on the internet using software that is far more advanced than what is available to the public. The estimates are that four in five police departments now use various social media as a tool in criminal investigations. A survey of over 1,221 federal, state, and local law enforcement shows that 90% of law enforcement officials use social media during investigations.
Social media platforms such as the Big 3 (Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram) will cooperate with investigations. They will respond to subpoenas, court orders, or search warrants (and so-called “emergency situations” without either) by handing over your content. Setting your accounts to “private” does not help. Your data is still readily available to law enforcement. Police investigators or District Attorneys who believe you may have posted relevant information to an ongoing investigation may obtain a search warrant to seize your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account without notifying you or your lawyer.
Investigators also use ‘phone dumps’ with specifically designed forensic software. They are easily able to bypass most security measures and can make a complete copy of everything on your phone. With all these options, investigators have access to all of your social media. They also have access to texts, calls, messaging, call history, pictures, videos, and movement tracking.
This is why it is so important to stay off social media if you are accused of a crime. Even if you don’t say anything, your friends and family may not be as sensible. So, don’t post, don’t engage, just go silent. Social media can also provide an alibi. This is a great reason to let your attorney look at your social media after an arrest. If you think there might be something that could incriminate you, be sure to notify your defense attorney right away. We will take every step we can to minimize the damage as much as possible.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, a seasoned criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference.
Racine defense lawyers at Cafferty & Scheidegger have been successfully representing clients in criminal defense matters since 1994. We have helped thousands of people charged with crimes. Our team will work hard to keep you out of jail and to keep your record free of a conviction.
From our offices in Racine Wisconsin, the criminal defense lawyers at Cafferty & Scheidegger defend the rights of people charged with state and federal criminal offenses throughout Southeastern Wisconsin (Racine, Kenosha, Walworth). If you or a loved one is charged with a crime, contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced Racine federal criminal defense attorney right away. For urgent matters, you are welcome to call or text us 24 hours a day at (262) 632-5000.
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The attorneys at Cafferty & Scheidegger have excellent knowledge of the state and federal court system throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. They are aggressive trial lawyers that are recognized for integrity and hard work. Our law firm’s strength lies in our exceptional pre-trial investigation and case preparation. We come to the prosecutor’s office prepared with the facts and ready to help you get the best possible outcome for your charges. Our priority is always to keep you out of jail and avoid a conviction on your record, whenever possible.
The dedication of the team at Cafferty & Scheidegger to client service and their record of success has earned them listings as Wisconsin Super Lawyer® from 2008 through 2020. In addition, their reputation for high standards has earned them an AV Distinguished rating by Martindale-Hubbell. Cafferty & Scheidegger is backed by more than 28 years of trial skills and courtroom experience.
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