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Felonies: Social media can provide damning evidence in trials

| Feb 26, 2019 | Felonies |

Social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is used more and more to obtain evidence to present at criminal trials. It has long been a source of information to use in civil and family lawsuits, but anyone in Michigan who is facing criminal charges for felonies might be wise to limit activities on social media. At the same time, they might want to discourage friends or family members from posting incriminating images.

In many cases, Facebook evidence is used in criminal cases that develop out of claims that started in family court but progress to criminal court when domestic violence, abuse, battery, or other serious disorderly conduct is involved. Social media evidence used in family court is often also effective in resulting criminal cases. Posts that show alcohol or drug abuse, child neglect, adultery and dishonest or false statements are but some of the damning evidence that could be easily obtainable on social media and might be admissible in court, depending on the issues.

Samples of such evidence include posts in which key witnesses contradict statements and information provided in police interviews. A person who denies gang affiliations might be caught unawares if the courtroom projector shows a picture obtained from social media of that same individual in the company of known gang members, holding an automatic weapon. Evidence can be obtained from posts made by plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses and even potential witnesses.

These platforms are fast becoming some of the primary sources of evidence used in trials — to prove or disprove cases. Anyone in Michigan who is accused of felonies might be wise to avoid posting anything about situations that might develop into arrest warrants, and retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can protect the rights of the accused individual, and provide advocacy throughout the ensuing proceedings as he or she works to obtain a favorable outcome.