We have worked with hundreds of people who have been accused of crimes in Denver, Larimer, and Douglas County, such as Sexual Assault on a Child, Unlawful Sexual Contact, and Enticement of a Child. We see the mistakes people make when they're scared, after the crime has been allegedly committed, and before they go to trial. In sex crime cases, the defendant's future is at stake, so mistakes are easily made. Unfortunately, these mistakes can make or break a case. Last week, we discussed the danger of talking too much as a criminal defendant, whether it is to the police, the District Attorney, or even family. This week, we'll discuss the second mistake: Spending time on social media accounts.
Social Media Accounts – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Texting: A Dangerous Pastime for a Criminal Defendant in Colorado
Social media is now a part of our society in the 21st century. There are hundreds of apps and websites through which we get entertainment and interaction. A few of the big ones are: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and texting. As a criminal defense attorney, I wish I could tell all my clients to delete their social media accounts. These websites offer unfiltered insights into your life. Prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in Jefferson, Adams, and Arapahoe County are looking at social media accounts more often to gather evidence against criminal defendants. Online activity is like recorded phone calls: Once you've posted it, the people trying to convict you of a crime can see it and they will use it against you. Some sex crimes in Denver, Littleton, and Aurora are based completely on online activity. Here are a few examples:
- Sexual Exploitation of a Child is charged whenever sexually explicit images of children under the age of 18 are found in a person's possession, or if these images are distributed and shared online.
- Internet Luring of a Child is charged whenever a person interacts online with a child under the age of 18 and discusses explicit sexual conduct, and then makes a suggestion or plans to meet for any purpose. Internet Luring arrests are most often the result of police stings.
- Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child is charged whenever a person asks a child under the age of 15 to send a sexually explicit picture of themselves over the computer or over the phone. Arrests are commonly made for this crime after sexting.
If you have been accused of any of these internet sex crimes, how does it look to a DA when he sees on your Facebook account that you are friends with multiple teenage girls, and have liked pictures of them wearing minimal clothing? How would it look if your YouTube history includes watching hours of young teenagers in suggestive videos? Instagram is also a dangerous app – there are many sexual photos to be seen, and a “like” or “favorite” can be seen in a person's history. Sexting and online chat rooms are also dangerous – you never know who is actually on the other side of the conversation. It could be a police officer or investigator looking for evidence against you.
Never Discuss Your Case Online – With Anyone
When you discuss your case with someone online, you are leaving a digital footprint. Even if you are talking about your case with friends or family, you don't want to say anything you will regret. Phone numbers and IP addresses can be tracked back to their source, so keep your lips sealed and your fingers from typing any information about your case.
In Conclusion: Social Media Accounts Are Dangerous
If you are facing accusations of a sex crime in Glendale, Highland's Ranch, or Parker, here is some advice I offer to my clients:
- Delete your social media accounts. This may be a sacrifice, but it is a small sacrifice in comparison to a conviction of a sex offense, many of which result in an indeterminate sentence to prison, sex offender registration, and sex offender treatment.
- Delete delicate information and photos. If you don't want to delete your accounts, it is wise to go through and delete images which could reflect badly on your character.
- Stop uploading. Don't upload any more photos. It's best to stop logging into any social media accounts – you can't be tempted to watch YouTube videos which could reflect badly on your character if you never log in.
We hope you have enjoyed part two of this series on common mistakes made by criminal defendants in Colorado. If you have any questions regarding sex offenses and social media accounts, contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys immediately.Request a Free Consultation