The first piece of advice you’ll likely hear from any criminal defense attorney is to keep quiet about the charges you face. Whether you did or did not commit the crime you have been accused of, anything you say can be used against you in court.
That includes anything you post on social media outlets, like Facebook, Twitter, and as one man recently found out, Instagram. A 19-year-old man with a felony criminal record that included grand theft and burglary was under the eye of local police for a string of burglaries when a cop found his Instagram account.
The officer uncovered pictures of Depree Johnson with weapons, cash and jewelry. Because of the felony convictions, Johnson was not legally allowed to possess a firearm and the police decided to investigate.
After securing a search warrant, Johnson’s home was searched and he was tied to a string of burglaries that had amounted to more than $250,000 in stolen goods.
As if Johnson had not already “said” enough with his Instagram account, police noted on their report that Johnson had self-reported his occupation as “thief” when questioned by police. In total, Johnson now faces 142 felony counts, including felon-in-possession among other theft offenses.
The moral of the story is not to do a better job of hiding evidence of breaking the law but to be aware that actions, just like words, can be used against you in a criminal proceeding.
Source: New York Daily News, “Florida man’s Instagram photos lead to 142 felony charges,” December 14, 2013