How Does Connecticut Handle Social Media Posts as Evidence?

Once upon a time, particularly before social media, it was possible to refer to one’s online and offline lives as separate. Today the proliferation of social media posting means that, for many people, our lives are a constant blend of online and offline, a constant back-and-forth. If we are involved in litigation, this is important to keep in mind. Courts have adapted to the modern day by expanding the legal rules around digital communications. Keep reading to learn how Connecticut has dealt with social media posts in different areas of the law. If you have been charged with a crime, don’t delay and call a Hartford County criminal defense attorney today.

Connecticut Protective Orders and Social Media

In Connecticut, digital communications also count as violations of protective orders, though what exactly is outlawed depends on what kind of protective order was issued.

Full No-Contact Orders are the most restrictive and prohibit any verbal, written, or digital contact.

Full Residential Stay-Away Orders are one level below full no-contact orders. The subject of the order can make contact, but is not allowed to enter the home of the protected individual.

Lastly, partial or limited protective orders permit contact and even living together, but explicitly forbid threats, intimidation, and harassment.

(Lack of) Criminal Defamation and Libel on Social Media in Connecticut

People can be and are arrested for online conduct in Connecticut and other states. Many times the criminality of the behavior is clearer than at other times.

For example, an East Hartford High School student was recently arrested for breach of peace, because after posting threats online. Threats of violence on social media can be easier to understand as potentially illegal. Slanderous lies, digitally stalking someone through email and social networking sites, and cyberbullying are all forms of online harassment recognized by the state of Connecticut.

Laws regarding criminal defamation can be much trickier. To demonstrate, in May 2018, a New Hampshire man was arrested for a Facebook comment that the police alleged violated laws against purposely communicating known false information and knowing that so doing will expose someone to public hatred or ridicule. In this instance, the man had commented under a Facebook story from a local newspaper, wherein he called a police officer “the dirtiest most corrupt cop I have ever had the displeasure of knowing” and a “coward who did nothing about it.”

Laws regarding criminal defamation and libel are considered by many as “unconstitutionally vague.” Fortunately, Connecticut does not have such laws, though states like New Hampshire and Massachusetts do. Knowing these laws exist in the country is important, however, as it shows the general national trend toward liberal evidence policy.

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