Legal Guide

Digital Dirt is Helping Lawyers Win In Court

Many people share way too much on social media. How many times have you seen your friends or relatives going on about something private in their life on the newsfeed? Even criminals and civil litigants tend to ruminate about their problems online. Did you know that many times people get on Facebook or Twitter to rant before their big day in court? Unfortunately, this 140-character outburst can be self-incriminating. 

Layers are finding that posts on social media can be the smoking gun they need to win the case. Nothing better than getting it “straight from the horse’s mouth.” Facebook’s new “Live” feature is a fantastic way for families and friends to connect. While it was created for sharing warm moments, like a baby’s first steps, many are using this method to brag about crimes. Anything put on a social channel can be used in a court of law, and it can be self-incriminating evidence. 

Criminalities aside, even people involved in divorce proceedings are using social media posts to gain a leg up with the court. Did you know that more than 66 percent of divorce lawyers can find something on social media that they can use to win the case? 

Even bankruptcy lawyers are worried about social media being used against their clients. Bragging about purchases can tip the court to possible hidden assets, and it can be enough to make a trustee dig deeper into financial claims. What about the person who is involved in a personal injury case? An Instagram post with them riding roller coasters or partying may put their complaints of pain and suffering to rest. 

Tips for Finding the Digital Dirt

Using social media is an excellent and free way to gather evidence for just about any court case. However, the trick is to capture it most efficiently. You need to make sure your evidence stands up in court. Here are three tips to help you get your digital dirt:

1. Become a Detective 

Many people post something on social media and then regret it later, so they hit the delete button. As the latest comments are posted, you need to make sure you take a screenshot. They may realize what they posted can be used against them and try to delete it to cover it up. However, if you watch an account carefully, you can almost always find something you need to help your claim. 

Some attorneys are advising clients to deactivate accounts, stop posting, and to change their privacy settings. Finding the evidence before it has been altered is the best way to get the proof you need. 

2. Use Internet Savvy Tools

You need someone or something watching when you cannot. You want to capture and preserve social media content, so using an app like e-discovery tools can help. This tool can scan anything publicly available online and help you get the evidence you need. It’s like having eyes and ears to ensure you don’t miss anything. 

3. Do Some Old-Fashioned Legwork 

While all the tools available to you are great, they still may not be enough. A private investigator has their place in the digital world too. A trained investigator can gain full access to social media by using tactics such as requesting to be a “friend” to the enemy. Be leery of this method though as some states it is not permitted, like New York. 

Conceivably the most significant advantage of an investigator is the capability to narrow the possibility of discovery. They can provide evidence that allows an attorney to focus on interrogatories. The other side may object that it’s nothing more than a “social media fishing expedition,” but with undeniable proof, no judge can look the other way. Yes, digital dirt has its place in today’s courtroom, and it’s helping people win cases.

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