Allegations of domestic violence can have a profound impact on your social life and your professional life. A conviction of any sort could haunt you for years, while any kind of protective order can impact where you can travel or how you spend your time.
It’s important to understand that your behavior when talking with law enforcement and court officials will impact the outcome of your case.
However, those aren’t the only interactions the courts will review. Your online behavior could also end up playing a role. There are certain online habits that could hurt you and complicate your domestic violence case.
Aggressive, abusive and threatening language online can make you look dangerous
Many people use harsh language and become more aggressive in online discussions and comments than they would in a face-to-face interaction. However, the things you say hyperbolically online can come back to haunt you in court. This is particularly true if you make aggressive or threatening comments about or toward the individual accusing you of domestic violence.
Even interactions unrelated to that individual could help support a claim of threatening or dangerous behavior. Avoiding harsh or aggressive language online is generally a good idea, but is particularly important when you need to defend yourself against accusations of domestic violence.
Reviewing your online footprint, up to and including comments and posts on social media pages, and taking down anything that could hurt your case is likely in your best interest.
Social media makes it easy to stalk someone
Many people over-share personal information online. Whether they are dishing on the details of their most recent fight with a friend or uploading pictures of every meal and coffee drink they enjoy, the information people put online makes it easy for other people to track their daily habits and activities.
If you are in a situation where you can’t contact, or interact with, your ex, you may feel compelled to use social media to track their behaviors and activities. Doing so could be a mistake. There is a fine line between reading updates and cyberstalking.
As a general rule, you should extend any “no contact” order you receive to include digital activities. If you are hoping to defend yourself against a domestic violence claim, stay far away from the accuser’s social media pages. Don’t interact with their posts, and don’t send messages online. It only takes a few seconds for someone to obtain a screenshot that can prove you violated a “no contact” order.
Social media makes it easier than ever to connect with other people. Unfortunately, not all those connections and interactions are healthy. If you worry about your ability to regulate your language or behavior on social media platforms while dealing with pending domestic violence charges, avoiding social media and removing the apps from your phone may be a good idea.