Instagram, Facebook photos often evidence in criminal convictions

Technological advances have allowed individuals to document their daily lives through photos and videos. Virtually all cellphones today come equipped with the ability to instantly take photos and videos and post them to social sites like Facebook and Twitter, for instance, for others to access and share.

However, these documented photos can come back to haunt those who post them-simply because they are so revealing and accessible. The posts are often then shared on numerous other accounts. They are also permanent.

Some employers examine applicants' Facebook profiles, photos or other online communication to make hiring decisions. Others, such as prosecutors, also use them as evidence against individuals facing criminal charges.

A case in point recently highlighted among various medical outlets involves a Florida man who faces over a hundred felony charges after police found incriminating photos from his Instagram account.

The case

A 19 year old Florida male was convicted of five felonies that included grand theft and burglary. The man was linked to several robberies in the Palm Beach area so authorities were keeping a close eye on him and his activities.

They came across his Instagram account. (Instagram is essentially a photo-sharing app that allows users to filter photos taken with their cellphones and post them on various social network sites.)

After examining the account, police discovered several photos he had posted that linked him to the robberies. Photos of the teen holding guns, stacks of cash and drugs were all identified. After the Instagram discovery, authorities searched his home. They found approximately $250,000 worth of stolen goods including jewelry, electronic equipment and guns.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the valuables came from homes located in roughly 40 different retirement communities.

The man was later identified as the ring-leader in all of the burglaries and now faces an astonishing 142 felony charges.

The importance of a criminal defense lawyer today

This case is a prime example of the double-edged sword associated with the Internet and sharing via 21st-century mobile device technology.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for instance, are avenues that bring people together from all parts of the globe. Alternately, these advances can also provide easily accessible evidence for prosecutors to use against individuals facing criminal charges.

Because of this, it's more important now than ever for those facing criminal charges to consult with a criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can offer advice on how evidence from a mobile device, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account can potentially be used against them.