top of page
  • Writer's pictureAshley Lansdown

Will the police look at my Facebook and Instagram?

The answer is yes. Social media has become an enormous investigative aid to law enforcement in recent years. If the police suspect you of a crime, one of the first things they are going to do is Google you and search all social media platforms for any trace of you.

How can social media help the police prove their case against you? Just one possible scenario: Imagine that you are accused of drug distribution (ecstasy/molly and cocaine) at a rave on a Saturday a few months ago. Before you are even aware that you might be accused of this, a police officer heads to Instagram to see if you have a public profile. Alas, you do. After stumbling upon your profile, police find numerous photos of you attending raves. They scroll back to the night in question and voila! There is a photo of you checked into the stadium where the rave was held and a photo of you and your friends in full rave gear. The photo is both time and date stamped and the name of the Stadium is geotagged right above your smiling face. If the police were unsure whether you were even there on the night in question, they now have evidence that you were - and YOU provided it! *face palm*

Ok - so you were there at the rave on the night in question according to your Instagram. But hey, that doesn't mean that you distributed or even consumed drugs that night. The police think to themselves - let's look at their Venmo to see if any transactions were made that night. Kids these days pay for everything on Venmo, right? Right they are. A quick search of your name on Venmo brings up all your public transactions. On the night in question, there are 9 different payments made to you from various people - who police discover later are tagged in some of your rave photos that night on Facebook. The descriptions attached to the payments contain various emojis, some of which are the pill emoji (ecstasy) and the snowflake emoji (cocaine). There you go - you just supplied police with very convincing circumstantial evidence that places you at the scene of the crime on the night of the crime and implicates you in the crime of drug distribution (the Venmo transactions coupled with the suspicious emojis). Needless to say, it's going to be difficult if not impossible for your attorney to suppress this evidence or explain it away.

I could think of a thousand situations where the police have a mere suspicion and then with the help of your various social media profiles, they build up a case and reach a conclusion. The person who turned you in is yourself. Were it not for your posts that allowed police to connect the dots and put together a story that points to your guilt, they would not have been able to muster up enough probable cause to take the case forward for arrest or charging.

Please - defense attorneys everywhere are begging you - help me help you by NOT posting incriminating things on social media. Things that you may not even think are incriminating could end up being incriminating. A post could place you at a certain place at a certain time or provide sensitive information that would not otherwise be recovered - like Venmo payments or license plate numbers in the background of photos that can be linked to you in an incriminating manner. I have been involved in numerous cases that had weeks of hearings where the defense was trying their best to suppress their clients' incriminating social media posts (usually to no avail).

The best situation for you is to be virtually untraceable, especially if you know you are being accused of a crime. Do not be the person who hands law enforcement their entire case on a silver platter.

40 views0 comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page