Protect Yourself Online: Tips from a Criminal Defense Attorney

The criminal justice system is a well-developed system that relies on processes, timelines, and evidence and so it can be carefully navigated by a skilled criminal defense attorney. However, the vast reach of the internet is one of those things that keeps us up at night. The reason being that we have no way of controlling what gets put online by our clients, and we have no way of stopping things from spreading like wildfire or going viral once they are out there.


What you chose to put on your social media is important, and if you are in the middle of an ongoing trial, you should run things by us before posting or saying something that may be detrimental to your case. Remember, the internet is considered a fertile fishing ground for a prosecutor looking for evidence against you.

During your trial, you must be careful with what you say in person, over email or on social media. Your own words and pictures can be used against you and the safest assumption is that anything you put in the public domain will be found by the prosecutor. 


In addition to the vast array of things people put on social media, there is also the rapidly growing trend in records sales. A simple Google search will pull up hundreds of search sites that allow you to look for people’s criminal records, including any arrest documents. While this may seem slightly voyeuristic, it also can have long-term consequences when the person whose criminal records, albeit unfounded or disproved, is you. As your criminal defense attorney, we want to make sure that once you have been acquitted, the charges have been dismissed, or you have been found not guilty, the records no longer have any impact on your life — nor should they. Sadly, however, when an arrest is made, every recorded detail finds its way into an online database, and these are now searchable, often by members of the public. Since an arrest or even charging documents do not discuss the outcome of the case, it becomes very easy for someone who is not a criminal defense attorney to jump to conclusions about your character.

To protect against being the victim of these kinds of searches, we can petition the court to have your records either expunged or sealed. When the court finds that you are not guilty, has acquitted you, or the charges have been dismissed, there is no reason for those records to be a matter of public interest. You were found to be innocent. Still, the gory details of an arrest warrant, which can often include a lot of “he said, she said,” can be enough to cause a potential relationship to sour, a job offer to disappear, or an application to be rejected. This is an extremely unfair turn of events for someone who has been vindicated in a court of law. If you feel like your life may be negatively impacted by open access to your criminal arrest records, trial materials, or any other part of the case, you should discuss with us, your criminal defense attorney, the options of expunging or sealing your records.

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