If you’re like everybody else these days, you post online when you have a unique thought, to express your worries, to talk about your feelings or beliefs, and to share your life.

What’s the big deal? Nothing — unless something your post could potentially have an impact on your freedom and your future. Many people don’t realize exactly how easily their social media pages can be used against them in court if the authorities are so inclined.

What sort of things should you keep off your social media page? Here are a few things that should never appear:

  • Photos that include pictures of you holding weapons, legal or otherwise
  • Photos that have drug paraphernalia in them, like bongs, pipes or needles
  • Photos that have visible drugs — or what appears to be drugs — in them
  • Comments about any illegal activity you may have committed, even if it’s a joke
  • Anything that could indicate your activity in a gang, like symbols or signs
  • Anything that could associate you with a group that has terroristic ties
  • Photos that indicate you were present during an act of vandalism or violence
  • Video of you committing any action that might be considered a crime
  • Anything (including opinions) about an ongoing criminal case, the prosecutor, the judge or the alleged victim

People are often fooled into believing that the world wide web is so big that nobody could possibly notice a few little posts — but that simply isn’t true. Law enforcement has sophisticated ways of connecting you to your posts, and that can hurt you in court.

If you’re facing a serious criminal charge, take all the necessary steps to protect yourself as soon as possible.