What you post on social media can have a drastic impact on your life. It could even impact a criminal case. Remember, the police also use Facebook.

Take, for instance, a case where police identified a gang member on social media. To get access to his posts, an officer simply sent him a friend request, which he accepted.

The young man then wrote a status saying: “It’s break-in day on the avenue.” The police were able to figure out what avenue he was talking about, and they went there with a camera. When the man showed up with a few other young men, the police allowed them to start the break-in, taking pictures as proof. Then they came forward and arrested everyone involved.

This is something of a stunning example, s it does not get much easier than that for police to make an arrest, but it illustrates a larger point. Anything you write on social media may be monitored by those who have access to the account. Once you put something online, with screenshots and other types of technology, it’s often impossible to really delete it. That information stays out there forever, and it can show back up in ways you do not expect.

If you get accused of a crime, it is important to understand that your social media posts could wind up getting used as evidence. Be very careful with what you say, as something could be misinterpreted in a way that hurts your case.

At the same time, think very carefully about all of the legal defense options you have and how you should proceed.