Although Facebook and Twitter may not be the best venues for venting about a bad day at work, an argument with a friend or spouse, or other personal matters, it is normal for many teens in Virginia — and even some adults — to use social media to voice their feelings from time to time. What folks need to understand, though, is that Facebook posts and comments on Twitter may be taken out of context, resulting in serious consequences.
As Facebook has become increasingly popular among teens, college students and adults, many Americans have come to realize that they must be extremely careful about what they choose to write on their social media pages. Employers have fired workers over social media posts and pictures, divorce attorneys have used posted comments against individuals in child custody and divorce settlement issues, and prosecutors have used Facebook pictures and other social media comments against individuals in criminal cases.
Just this week, a Portsmouth student was arrested for what he had posted on Facebook. Police arrested the student for allegedly threatening to harm others.
The 16-year-old was arrested on Tuesday after police were notified about a concerning picture and comment the student had posted on Facebook. According to reports, the teen took pictures of a family member’s guns. The guns were stored in a container, but the teen allegedly forced the container open in order to take the pictures. After taking the pictures, the teen then allegedly made threatening comments on Facebook and posted a picture of the guns with the comments.
The teen’s high school was notified first about the teen’s comments on Tuesday. The school then contacted police and police arrested the 10th grader.
After investigating the incident, police reported that they found no evidence to suggest that the teen brought any weapons to school or near the school. Police reported that the guns the teen had taken pictures of were still inside the container when the student was arrested. The teen is still facing charges for allegedly posting threats on Facebook, though.
Any crime that involves violence — even written or verbal threats — may result in harsh penalties in Virginia. When folks are accused of harming others or threatening to harm others, they will want to make sure they have someone on their side who will investigate the details of their case and provide helpful legal guidance when facing serious charges and penalties. With an aggressive defense, adults and juveniles may be able to mitigate the legal consequences they may face.
Source: The Virginian Pilot, “Portsmouth student arrested for threats on Facebook,” Sarah Hutchins, May 29, 2013