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When Your Social Media Posts Can Land You in Jail

Social media is a popular way to stay in touch with family and friends. However, some of your posts can land you in jail, even if you thought they were a joke. These are four things you should never post on social media.

ANYTHING GANG RELATED

Posting anything gang related on your social media accounts can put you on law enforcement’s radar. Law enforcement agencies are increasingly cracking down on cyberbanging, which is when gangs use social media to recruit new members and intimidate their rivals.

Gang violence can start on social media, so law enforcement officers take gang-related social media posts very seriously to prevent casualties. In Chicago, a 19-year-old man lost his life after he posted a YouTube video denigrating a rival gang and using emojis to insult a rival gang member’s mother.

WEAPONS

Law enforcement monitors social media for posts that indicate someone is involved in violence involving weapons, especially guns. Although simply posting a picture of an unlicensed weapon may not lead to your arrest, any indication that you have or will use that weapon for violence can.

In Dallas, a middle school student was arrested after she posted a picture she found on Google of a man with a gun to her social media accounts with threats to shoot students in her middle school. In the post-Columbine era, law enforcement takes any threats against students very seriously, and even a joking post can lead to serious legal consequences.

DRUGS

Posting pictures of drugs or other illegal substances on your social media account can subject you to law enforcement scrutiny. If you take it a step further and use social media to arrange drug deals, you are creating a digital trail that can lead to your arrest. In Phoenix, five men were arrested for running a drug trafficking ring after law enforcement officers discovered they were using Instagram to market marijuana and cannabis vape cartridges.

STALKING

Avoid posting anything that can be construed as stalking, especially if the subject of your post already has a protection order against you. In the New Hampshire case State v. Craig, the Court ruled that Facebook posts directed at the victim after a protection order was served on the defendant was a violation, even though the victim had to go to his social media page to see those posts.  The Court stated that “there is no logical reason to post comments other than to communicate them to other Facebook users. Had [the defendant] desired to put his thoughts into writing for his own personal contemplation, he could simply have recorded them in a private journal, diary, or any other medium that is not accessible by other people.”

HIRE AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

If you have been arrested as a result of your social media posts, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for you. At S.L England, PLLC, our attorneys will aggressively fight for you in any Washington, D.C. or Virginia court. Call us today at (202) 489-0720 or contact us online.

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