Stay Off Social Media After Being Charged
As good as it may feel to “get things off your chest,” posting on social media after you’ve been charged with a crime of any sort can only hurt you. Those accused of a violent crime like domestic violence or assault should definitely stop posting on all online accounts until their case is resolved, as those posts stop being harmless the second you’re actually suspected of something. Because of how seriously Texas takes allegedly violent offenders, you should consider yourself — and your internet usage — to be under a microscope until further notice.
Violent crimes are taken very seriously in Killeen
Texas is notorious for having incredibly strict penalties for any violent crime of which you may be accused. This is just one reason why underestimating the charges against you can only backfire.
If you’re accused of something like domestic assault, the prosecution needs only a small amount of evidence to get you into trouble, and they will look for absolutely anything they can use. They need to prove you intentionally caused or threatened to cause harm to someone in your family (or someone you’re dating) to get you convicted, but just the accusation is enough to get you taken from your home and away from your children. If the alleged victim is seriously injured, they can even elevate the charges against you to felony aggravated domestic assault.
Non-domestic assault is taken no less seriously, and it is important to note that neither of these crimes need physical injuries to convict you. Depending on your criminal history, your charges may even be third-degree assault — a felony — right off the bat, which can land you behind bars for at least a decade. You’ll have to pay expensive fines and the alleged-victim’s medical bills, and your reputation will forever have a stain that can prevent you from getting jobs, housing, and custody of any children you may have.
With how serious these crimes are, the state considers it their duty to step in as quickly as possible, whether the alleged victim wants it or not. If there is any evidence against you, the state itself presses charges. Even if the victim denies your guilt outright, you can still face criminal charges and a subsequent conviction unless you have a strong enough defense.
How can your social media posts hurt your defense?
No matter what crime you’ve been accused of, taking to the internet to share your thoughts about it is never a good idea. Social media is as public as your local park — and just as accessible, too. Whether you’re tweeting death threats and admitting to insurrection on Twitter or filming yourself escaping from cops, law enforcement CAN find out and WILL use it against you.
Once charges are filed against you, especially if they’re alleging a violent crime like domestic assault, everything you say and post online becomes monitored and legally retrievable. Even your texts can be held against you if the prosecution can prove you wrote them. If you’re charged with assault and then you text or tweet about how angry you are about it, the state can obtain a record of that and use it as evidence. Deleting texts or posts can only make things worse, too, because it can be seen as an admission of guilt or destruction of evidence.
Not only can posting online hurt you before conviction, but it can hurt you after, too. Probation officers frequently and meticulously monitor your internet and phone usage. If you post anything they deem inappropriate or threatening, it could count as a violation that could get you thrown behind bars and convicted further, and the same goes for any pre-trial diversion you may have otherwise been eligible for.
When it comes to domestic assault specifically, your accuser can file a protective order against you that forbids you from contacting them, your children, or coming anywhere near them. These orders are usually temporary at first, but any perceived threat (very much including online posts, even if you were joking or didn’t mean it) can result in a judge granting a permanent one and charging you further. If they believe it is likely you’ll commit further violence against the alleged victim, that is all they need to keep you away from your family and home indefinitely.
What to do after being charged with a violent crime in Killeen
If you’re facing violent criminal charges, you need to act immediately to protect yourself and your rights as much as possible. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re actually guilty, because you will be treated as such from the moment you’re taken into custody. It can be a terrifying, traumatic experience and you may even be (rightfully) angry with how everything is handled, but how you act can truly have a major impact on the outcome of your case.
Keep calm, and above all else, keep quiet. You may be interrogated depending on the nature of your charges; remember that cops can and will lie to you to try and force a confession, regardless of the truth. Assert your right to silence, your right to an attorney, and then do not say anything else until your attorney arrives. Quite literally, stay absolutely silent, because any word you say is a forfeiture of your right to silence after you’ve invoked it.
Once you have a skilled criminal defense attorney, they will go through the details of your case and work with you and their own team to build you the strongest defense possible. Alongside gathering their own facts and witnesses, they’ll also counsel you on ways to help yourself — and this will always include staying off social media. Texting people might be harder to avoid, but make sure you never even allude to your case. If you already have, be honest with your attorney so they can help prepare for any potential fallout.
Here in Killeen, the experienced and tenacious criminal defense attorneys at Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm have years and years of education and time on the field representing clients in all matter of situations. We know how complicated and stressful these cases can be, and we want to help simplify it wherever and whenever we can. Aside from Killeen, we also serve clients and families throughout Coryell County, Bell County, Temple, Waco, and Belton. Call us or use our contact form today to learn how we can help.
I’ve dedicated my legal career to defending my clients. I demand all the evidence. I investigate all the facts, the so-called witnesses and even the police officers. I make it my business to know the law. Cases can be won or lost before you even set foot inside the courtroom.
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