People who may be involved in a criminal case could potentially make all kinds of mistakes. Some pitfalls have been around for years. For example, a person may brag about committing an offense to a friend to gain respect or credibility.
However, one of the easiest mistakes that one can while under the attention of law enforcement is a relatively recent one, and it relates to social media. Basically, posting anything on social media could harm the defense effort.
Posts are open to misinterpretation
A post that came across as a harmless joke or prank before an offense occurred may take on a more suspicious light afterward. Furthermore, if someone tries to delete that post, he or she could end up in trouble for destroying evidence. Deleting is no guarantee that authorities will not find the information. Someone could have taken a screenshot, or forensic specialists could find the posts.
Posts can cast doubt on credibility
Suppose a person were to make a statement to a police investigator that seems to contradict something on social media. One scenario could be saying that he has never taken drugs. But what about that Facebook photo someone tagged him in and in which he appears to be possibly snorting something? Or someone is facing charges of stealing something, and there is a picture of her holding something that looks like what she is alleged to have stolen.
Another scenario could be posting, over several hours, a series of photos the night of a party that shows someone holding what appears to be alcohol. Such "evidence" could harm a person's chances if law enforcement arrests him or her later that evening.
Privacy is an illusion
Many people make potentially incriminating posts public as a matter of natural habit. Even if people are fiercely private, they could still get in trouble. One of their friends on the account could send a screenshot to authorities, or someone could tag them in their own pictures. Even if no one tags a person, he or she could still appear in others' photos or someone could mention him or her by name in a status update. If someone has a weak password, it could open an account up to hacking, and further potential for incrimination.
If you or someone you know has been arrested, you need to know that there are defenses for every crime. Speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.