·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


Can Social Media Pictures Be Proof for a Drug Possession Charge?

— July 5, 2023

If you post a picture of yourself using drugs, the prosecution could use that as evidence against you in a drug possession case. 

You may have heard about people getting in trouble for things they’ve posted on social media, but did you know your pictures and posts could be used as evidence against you in a court of law? 

In the era of social media, it’s more important than ever to be aware of the potential consequences of what you share online. 

One such consequence is constructive possession of drugs: When someone is charged with drug or weapon possession even though no evidence of the contraband was discovered on them. We’ll explain more about constructive possession, as well as note different ways social media can get you in trouble with the law.                                                                                                                                                                                   

What is constructive possession?

Constructive possession is a legal theory that can be used to charge someone with drug or weapon possession even if there is no physical evidence of the contraband on their person. In order for constructive possession to apply, the prosecution must show the defendant had knowledge of the contraband and the ability to control it. 

In other words, even if you don’t have drugs or weapons physically on you, you can still be charged with constructive possession if the prosecution can prove you knew about the contraband and could have possibly used it. 

For example, if you post a picture of yourself with a gun, the prosecution could argue you were in constructive possession of the weapon. Keep in mind: This is just one way social media can get you in trouble with the law, so be careful what you share online

How can social media get you in trouble with the law?

Many folks tend to share a bit too much information online these days. Let’s take a look at a few other examples of social media and online activities that could get you in legal trouble.

Incriminating Posts

Another way social media can get you in trouble with the law is by posting incriminating evidence against yourself. For example, if you post a picture of yourself using drugs, the prosecution could use that as evidence against you in a drug possession case. 

As mentioned previously, the same goes for posting pictures of yourself with weapons. If the prosecution can prove you had constructive possession of those weapons, you could be facing some serious charges.

Privacy Invasion

Posting private information about someone without their consent is a form of privacy invasion, and it can get you in trouble with the law. 

For example, if you post someone’s address or phone number without their permission, you could be charged with invasion of privacy. Another example could be posting photos or videos of someone without their consent.

An easy way to check yourself on this is to ask yourself, “would I share this information with a stranger in real life?” If the answer is no, then you definitely shouldn’t be sharing it online, either.

Cyberstalking Charges

Cyberstalking is the use of electronic communication to stalk, harass, or threaten someone. If you post threatening or harassing messages on social media, you could be charged with cyberstalking. 

Don’t Be a Cyber Bully

Cyberbullying is a very common issue. If you’re currently on the receiving end and trying to survive online harassment, try not to engage with the bully. This will only make the situation worse. 

Instead, take screenshots of the harassing messages and block the bully from your social media accounts. You can also report the bully to the social media platform. Hang in there and remember there are people who can help. 

Ways to Cut Back on Your Social Media Use

Many people these days feel like they’re constantly glued to their phones. Whether it’s checking email, social media, or messages from your friends, it’s easy to rack up hours and hours of screen time. 

Here are a few ideas to help get you offline and back in the real world.

Take Social Media Breaks

If you’re finding it hard to stay off your phone, try taking a break from social media. You can start with a short break of a few hours and work your way up to longer periods of time.

Half of U.S. Parents Believe Social Media is Harming Their Children
Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Plan Social Media-Free Activities

Make plans with friends or family that don’t involve using your phone. Go for a walk, play a board game, or go to a museum. 

Leave Your Phone at Home

This one can be tough, but try leaving your phone at home when you go out. It may be hard at first, but you’ll likely find that you don’t need it as much as you thought you did. 

Delete Apps

If you’re really struggling to stay off your phone, deleting social media apps from your phone may be a good solution. You can always re-download them later when you feel like you’re ready to use them again.

These are just a few examples of ways that you can manage your online time to help you from oversharing and possibly ending up in trouble with the law. 

Avoiding “FOLO”

It can be hard to cut back on screen time, and you might even experience some “FOLO” or Fear of Living Offline, but it can be worth it. 

If you’re already trying to live more in the real world, but you think “FOLO” is still ruining your offline life, it can help to remember these things:

  • Being online all the time is not normal: Your brain is not made to process that much information all day long.
  • You can still be social without being online: Talk to people face-to-face.
  • Social media doesn’t show the whole story: Remember, it’s a curated highlight reel of people’s lives. 
  • Life isn’t a popularity contest: Most people don’t have hundreds of friends in real life, even if they have that many followers online.

Remember, it’s okay to miss out sometimes. The internet will still be there when you get back.

Think Before You Share Online

Remember that social media is a public platform. Anything you post can be seen by anyone, even if you think your account is private.

Be mindful of what you share, as it could come back to haunt you or even get you in legal trouble. If you’re ever in doubt, err on the side of caution and don’t post it. 

Join the conversation!