Many people like to share their everyday thoughts and happenings on social media. But when you’re going through a sensitive court case, your social media ‘selfies’ could quickly be used against you.
What many people don’t realize is that even if your account is private, you never know where your stories, comments or photos will end up and how they may be interpreted.
The truth is that social media is NOT private and most things posted on the internet can be found one way or another. Anything you post online can be considered “discoverable evidence” and play a significant role in legal matters against you.
In 2009 Glenn Taylor, a Boy Scouts leader of many years, filed a personal injury lawsuit against a Utah resident citing “great pain and suffering, disability, impairment and loss of joy of life” from permanent and debilitating injuries following a car accident.
In 2013 Taylor was filmed pushing over a 2,000 pound sandstone boulder in Goblin Valley State Park. The video, which featured himself and a fellow friend laughing and enjoying their achievement was uploaded to their Facebook profiles.
In pushing over the ancient Jurassic period stone, Taylor and his friend not only broke State Park laws, but also damaged Taylor’s reputation for a disability claim. The video brought attention to the validity of his injury claims and resulted in both men getting dismissed from their Boy Scout leadership roles.
They are now facing criminal charges. Scenarios like this are happening all the time. Whether the person is guilty or not, it is important to remember that messages on social media can be misinterpreted easily.
Tips to Post on Social
- Post Carefully – Everything you post on social media like posts, comments and pictures could be knit-picked during a court case and cause some serious repercussions. Be careful what you post to avoid getting burned by your own actions.
- Stay Quiet – Avoid discussing your trial on social media outlets. Venting or bragging about your court case or decision is not wise. It can give off the wrong impression and make judges and jurors question your motives.
- Post Like Everyone Is Watching – Even if an account is private, format your posts as if your court judge, grandmother or boss was seeing them as best practice. Be careful with everything you say and stay away from anything that might be offensive or obscene to others.
- Avoid Questionable Images – When in doubt, don’t post. An image that puts you in a potentially questionable light should be avoided at all costs. You never know how a person will interpret an image, even if it is all in good fun.
It’s important to remember that while you are posting things on social media sites, someone may be printing copies or taking screenshots.
If you have been involved in a sensitive case and are needing an attorney to resolve your legal matters, contact O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss Attorneys at (877) 235-8002 or visit our website for more information.
Image courtesy of Maria Elena/flickr.