Advice from our Reno Attorneys: Social networks and court cases don't mix

Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ are increasingly making their way into the courtroom in all types of criminal and civil court actions.

TechWeek recently reported that a dozen defendants used more that 15 websites, Twitter Feeds and Facebook pages in a classic “pump and dump” stock fraud scheme. Participants allegedly used the social networks to induce followers to make stock purchases that would artificially inflate the price before the defendants sold their shares.

As the hit Hollywood movie “The Social Newtwork” details the story of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, our Reno criminal defense lawyers and personal injury attorneys can share with you just a few ways in which social networks routinely impact personal injury and criminal law in Nevada.

Facebook is not a diary: Do not talk about your court case with friends on a social network. Increasingly, attorneys are seeking to use such evidence in court. At the very least, a judge will not be impressed by the pictures of you dancing on a bar when you appear for DUI sentencing. Defendants have been arrested for probation violations as a result of evidence posted on social networks. And it has been cited in numerous divorce and child custody cases.

Don’t post evidence of criminal activity: We know this should be self-evident. Unfortunately…..a pair of California women were charged last month with inciting two underage girls to fight after a video of the incident was posted on YouTube

No contact means… contact: Defendants in Reno domestic violence cases can be found to be in violation of a protection order by attempting to make contact via e-mail, text messaging, social networks, or carrier pigeon. Just as you may not contact the subject of a restraining order by mail or through a friend, you may not contact them through social networks.

Talk to your attorney…..not your Facebook friends: Posting information about your health or your activities or your criminal or civil case can hurt your case and may even lead to criminal charges. Those golf pictures while making a workers’ compensation claim can haunt you. So can pictures or information about your lifestyle posted in the middle or a divorce of child custody case.

Social Networks and children: Kids should have special supervision when using social networks or the Internet in general. We all know that not everything online is appropriate for children and certainly there are predators that attempt to use the Internet to their advantage. But increasingly, kids are finding themselves in legal trouble as a result of sending risqué photographs of themselves or their friends, which has resulted in child pornography charges in a number of cases.

For some reason, the anonymity of posting something online sometimes results in clients forgetting basic common sense. The best rule of thumb has not changed with the advent of any of these new technologies: If you would not be comfortable explaining your behavior to a judge in a courtroom, don’t do, say or post it outside the courtroom while your case is pending.

If you are facing charges in Reno or Lake Tahoe, contact the Reno criminal defense attorneys at Joey Gilbert Law to discuss your rights. Call (775) 574-4774 today for a free confidential consultation. Live receptionist 24/7. Se Habla Espanol.


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