As soon as you file a motion in court, you should deactivate your social media accounts. Why? Anything you post online could be used against you in court. In some cases, even direct messages, texts, and emails can be brought in as evidence.
1. Your Social Media Posts Can Be Used as Evidence Against You
Anything you post online is public, even if your privacy settings are high or your device is password-protected. Using content from social media as evidence is not illegal, and many courts allow private messages to be admitted into evidence, as well.
Even if you do not post anything yourself, mentions and tagged photos can also become evidence. When using social media, you should never assume your activity is confidential, nor the activity of your friends.
2. Everything Can Be Misinterpreted
When you have a case in court, there is no such thing as a “harmless” post. Everything from a fun anecdote to a picture of you can be misinterpreted by opposing counsel. For example, a creditor could question why you are enjoying a cocktail if you cannot pay your bills or ask why you are spending so much time on social media instead of searching for a job.
Similarly, during a personal injury trial, defense attorneys could use a photo of you going out to dinner or your most recent “check-in” at a restaurant to try to discredit the effects of your accident.
No matter who makes the posts and what their intentions are, the other side can twist words and images to serve their case. They can even take snippets of posts out of context.
As such, the best course of action is to put your social media on pause. Log out or deactivate your accounts until your legal proceedings are over. To be extra safe, you should also ask your friends not to tag you in anything or post pictures or descriptions of your time together until your case is over.
3. There’s No Such Thing As Gone
Although logging out or deactivating your account is prudent, you should never delete your account – or any of your posts – during a lawsuit, as this could be seen as tampering with evidence.
Further, nothing you delete is ever truly gone. Forensic professionals can recover “permanently” deleted content, and it can be all the more harmful if you try to make it disappear. If you write it down, it exists forever, so save fiery rants and comments about your case for phone calls and in-person meetings with family members and close friends.
As a general rule of thumb, never post anything online that you wouldn’t want a judge to read out loud.
4. Mistakes Can Create More Work (and Billable Hours) for Your Lawyer
If you’re worried about your online presence, your attorney will have to be worried about it, too. While your lawyer can help you get in front of an unsavory post, they can spend more time building your case if they aren’t worried about social media getting in the way.
Save yourself attorneys’ fees by keeping your social media clean, and always let your lawyer know if there’s something they should be aware of.
At the Law Office of Seni Popat, we are extremely detail-oriented and can help you with every aspect of your bankruptcy or personal injury case. Attorney Seni Popat handles every case directly, and our legal team is always accessible to you.
Call us at (718) 340-3385 or contact us online for stress-free legal help today.