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Social Media and Criminal Charges

By March of this year, Facebook had over 901 million active users worldwide.  In the three months prior, an average of 300 million photographs were uploaded to Facebook each day. Twitter claims to have over 200 million users.

MySpace, LinkedIn, and other social media sites mean connectivity is everywhere.  Gossip, plans, thoughts, questionable statements — once in the digital domain, always in the digital domain.

Representing clients facing criminal charges throughout Reading and Kutztown since 1974, we have worked for decades helping clients overcome evidence pointing to guilt, and collecting evidence supporting their innocence.  Social media delivers both.

Criminal defense attorneys use the Internet to search for statements or photographs that call into question the credibility of accusers. Inconsistencies between statements made online and statements made to law enforcement can increase prosecutorial burden of proof.  A photograph is worth a thousand words.

You may have a Facebook page, but the Berks County Sheriff’s Department does, too. From identifying looters after a riot, to naming a car thief on surveillance video, law enforcement uses social media to pursue wrongdoers and collect incriminating photographs and statements unwittingly posted on the Internet.

Tips for avoiding the very long arm of the law in cyber-space include:

  • If involved in questionable activity, do not mention it to online friends
  • Do not post photographs of yourself holding handfuls of cash after a robbery
  • Contact our office if wanted for arrest, and do not tweet the police

Sharing with cyber-friends is fine.  Just do not share too much.

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