When is Posting to Social Media is a Crime?
Social media has provided a revolutionary way to keep in touch with family and friends and share photos, videos, and posts about a person’s life. However, social media does not come without its own complications and sometimes, those can cross into the area of criminal law. Many people do not realize this and soon find themselves facing charges for a number of different offenses. It is for this reason that it is crucial for anyone posting to social media to understand what is protected, and what is not.
The First Amendment of the United States has granted free speech to all American citizens since the formation of the country. To the shock of many people, this also includes hate speech, such as racial slurs. Any speech that can be considered a credible threat by a reasonable person though, is not protected under the First Amendment. This type of speech is prohibited under Florida Statute 836.10. According to this statute, written threats are considered a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Even when it is uncertain whether a person would have carried out their threat, they can still face prosecution and the penalties that come with a conviction.
Making False Reports
Reports of the violent use of bombs, firearms, dynamite, and other deadly explosives or weapons of mass destruction are taken very seriously in the eyes of the law. Individuals that make false reports of these weapons, such as stating that another person intends to use them, can also face second-degree felony charges. To be convicted of these reports, a person must make the false report with the intent to deceive, misinform, or mislead another person.
According to Florida Statute 784.049, it is a criminal offense to post sexually explicit images or videos without the consent of the subject of the image. Due to the fact that this offense is largely conducted online, the statute officially refers to this crime as sexual cyberharassment. The subject of the image must provide consent to share the photo or video online. Simply giving consent for the material to be taken originally is not enough. When any of this material involves a minor, a person could face child pornography charges, as well.
Other Potential Online Offenses
There are other online activities that could result in criminal charges, as well. These include:
- Sharing confidential information without a person’s consent
- Pictures or posts of drug trafficking, which is not against the law but could result in a criminal investigation
- Spreading rumors when it crosses into stalking, threats, or defamation
Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers can Help with Your Case
Social media has many benefits, but sometimes the posts people share can be considered a criminal offense. If you have been charged, our Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. can help. Our experienced attorneys understand the law and the defenses that are available for alleged online criminal offenses. Call us today at (813) 672-1900 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation so we can review your case.
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