Free speech does not cover confessions. The first amendment protects speech. Congress cannot create laws that infringe upon a person’s speech. Further, it cannot create laws that impact speech without good reason. Anytime a statement leads to a criminal charge there are main two questions: First did it violate the person’s right against self-incrimination. Secondly, does the charge violate the person’s First Amendment rights.
Unfortunately for a South Carolina man, the police check the internet. The man posted compromising photos on his Instagram account. The photos showed him smoking a joint and giving the bird to the police webpage. The police tracked him down and purchased marijuana from him. He was then charged with two crimes
Did his statements get him in trouble?
He was not charged with an offense related to his speech. The police just located him because of what he put online. His admission to drug use put him on police radar. He was not prosecuted because of his speech.
Can speech be illegal?
Speech can be regulated. It is not an absolute right. The government just must have a good reason to restrict it. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. People cannot call in threats.
Speech can be regulated, but confessing to a crime online is not protected speech. Be careful about what you post. Also, avoid hashtags like 420 and f@*# the police; these are invitations for further scrutiny. There is a huge exception to the exercise of speech. A person cannot be selectively prosecuted because fo the exercise of speech. It is important that you discuss your situation with an attorney to find out whether or not your rights have been violated. Remember the things on the internet exist forever and no matter how hard you try it will still be there.