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  • Writer's picturebrownandassociates

Think Before You Post: Social Media During a Court Case

Updated: Jun 11

In today's digital age, social media is a significant part of our daily lives. We share moments, opinions, and updates with friends and followers, often without a second thought. However, your social media activity can have serious implications when you have a pending court case. Here’s why you need to be cautious and how to navigate social media responsibly during legal proceedings.

Hands holding smartphone social media concept

The Impact of Social Media on Court Cases

Social media posts can be used as evidence in court. Anything you post can potentially be scrutinized by the opposing party and used to undermine your case. Photos, status updates, comments, and even likes can be taken out of context and presented in a way that damages your credibility.

Spoliation: The Dangers of Deleting Posts

Spoliation refers to the destruction or alteration of evidence that is relevant to a legal proceeding. If you delete social media posts to hide them from the court, this can be considered spoliation. Courts take spoliation seriously, and it can lead to severe consequences, such as:

  • Adverse Inferences: The court may assume that the deleted evidence was unfavorable to your case.

  • Sanctions: You may face legal penalties, including fines or dismissal of your claims.

  • Damaged Credibility: Spoliation can harm your credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of the court.

Best Practices for Social Media During a Court Case

Think Before You Post:

  • Avoid Discussing the Case: Refrain from posting anything related to your case, including details, opinions, or frustrations.

  • Review Privacy Settings: Ensure your social media accounts are private, but remember that even private posts can be subpoenaed.

Be Mindful of Photos and Tags:

  • Avoid Incriminating Photos: Be cautious about posting photos that could be misinterpreted or used against you. This includes images showing alcohol consumption, risky behavior, or anything that contradicts your statements.

  • Monitor Tags: Be aware of photos and posts that others tag you in, and adjust your settings to approve tags before they appear on your profile.

Communicate with Your Attorney:

  • Seek Guidance: Discuss your social media use with your attorney. They can provide specific advice on what to avoid and how to manage your accounts.

  • Follow Instructions: Adhere to any guidelines or restrictions your attorney sets regarding social media.

Limit Activity:

  • Reduce Posting: Consider taking a break from social media or significantly reducing your activity until your case is resolved.

  • Avoid Public Arguments: Steer clear of online arguments or confrontations, especially those related to your case.

Keep Records:

  • Document Posts: Keep records of your social media activity. Screenshots can help in case there are disputes about what was posted or deleted.

While it’s natural to want to share aspects of your life on social media, it’s crucial to be mindful of the potential legal implications during a court case. By following these best practices, you can protect yourself from inadvertently damaging your case. Always consult with your attorney for personalized advice tailored to your situation.

For more legal guidance and support, contact Brown & Associates, PLLC. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate the complexities of your legal proceedings.


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