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How Your Use Of Social Media Can Be Restricted If You’re On Probation

OKABE & HAUSHALTER Dec 21, 2018 Internet Crime

Social media has become an integral part of our life, so no wonder that even the criminal justice system has to adjust and enact new laws and rules governing how social media can and cannot be used by adults and juveniles serving probation and those investigated for a crime.

As you may know, it has been over a year since the Supreme Court ruled that social media platforms can be considered the new “public square,” which means expressing your opinion in social media posts is protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees your free speech.

However, just recently, a California state appeals court ruled that there are certain limitations as to the extent social media can be used by an adult or juvenile or ex-convict who is on probation.

How your use of social media can be restricted

Our Los Angeles internet crime attorney at Okabe & Haushalter explains that there are certain limitations imposed on adult and juvenile’s use of social media while on probation. Imposing limitations on a convict’s use of social media can be lawful as long as these limitations are imposed for rehabilitation purposes and/or to protect the victim of a crime committed by the convict.

Traditionally, the criminal justice system has imposed limitations on adults and juveniles serving probation. In particular, those limitations were imposed on their conduct and communications. Until recently, courts did not recognize social media as a means of communication. But now that social media has become the preferred choice of communication for the vast majority of teenagers and young adults, it’s no surprise that courts have begun imposing limitations on adults and juveniles serving probation and publicizing their activities on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Aren’t those limitations a violation of my freedom of speech rights?

When an adult or juvenile serving probation posts something about his or her criminal case, or worse, something about the victim of the crime, the court will issue a warning to the felon and/or order him/her to take down the social media posts that violate the terms of conditional release.

Our internet crime attorney in Los Angeles explains that doing so is necessary to protect the convict, too, as certain social media posts can be used against the person serving probation to prove that the adult or juvenile on probation has no remorse about his or her actions.

Some of you might argue that placing any limitations on your use of social media is a violation of your free-speech rights, but this isn’t what California’s Supreme Court thinks.

Your probation diminishes your freedom of speech rights

While it is true that you have the right to express your opinion and speak freely under the First Amendment, regardless of whether you are on probation or not, your freedom of speech rights is diminished by the terms and conditions of your probation. After all, these conditions exist to rehabilitate you and protect the victim of the crime.

Thus, California courts recognize that social media presence is no joke. If you have been charged with a crime, it is best to refrain from posting anything about your offense on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for the duration of your probation.

Failure to comply with the court’s order may make it more difficult to rehabilitate you or complete your probation successfully. If you still think that placing any limitations on your use of social media is a violation of your freedom of speech rights, speak to our Los Angeles internet crime attorney at Okabe & Haushalter. Get a free consultation by calling at 310-430-7799.