It's easy to see why a 16-year-old boy in Bensalem was arrested for murder—he shared a video of a dead body on Instagram and asked a friend for help hiding the body. The parents of the friend he approached then contacted the police, and when police arrived at the boy's home, they found the body as well as evidence that someone had tried to clean up the crime scene.
Don't Post About Crimes
Though it may seem obvious that if you have committed a crime, you shouldn't post about it on social media, everyday people find themselves in big trouble because of things they've shared online. Even if your account is anonymous or private or if you share the information via direct messages (DMs) rather than in general posts, sharing on social media can make it easy for police and prosecutors to find you and charge you with a crime.
Admitting a crime on social media is the same as admitting to it in person or in writing, and it can be used against you in court. In fact, social media posts are often stronger evidence than oral testimony.
Because written records – and social media creates a written record – are generally considered to be more credible than oral reports.
And Not Just Confessions
You don't have to post “I just stole a car” to have your posts used against you. Flashing gang signs in a photo can be used to show your affiliation with a gang. Images of you and your friends doing shots at a bar can come back to haunt you if you get charged with a DUI.
And Not Just Crimes, Either
Even if you don't admit to a crime but simply post an emotional status update instead, prosecutors can use that against you, perhaps to demonstrate a potential motive or to say that you were biased towards or against a certain individual.
There Is No Such Thing as Anonymity Online
Even if your account is under a fake name, any post you make can be traced back to you. If you have been charged with a crime, police will likely seek a search warrant for biographical information associated with your account that can be used to connect you to any anonymous username you might have.
Though younger people, who are used to having their pictures taken and posted online and to sharing intimate details about their lives, romantic relationships, opinions, and inner thoughts on social seem to be especially prone to oversharing, Gen Z and Alphas certainly aren't the only people who create potentially self-incriminating content. By now, every generation has accepted that technology is privy to many once-hidden parts of our lives. Sharing online is how we connect with others and how we process intense events.
Whether you have already overshared or not, if you are currently suspected of committing a crime in Pennsylvania, you need to speak with a lawyer who understands how to defend you and help you get your life back. The Lento Law Firm has successfully defended hundreds of clients across the state and can help advise you on your options. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm online or at 888-535-3686 today.