Many Americans live very public lives these days via their social media accounts — but that can come back to haunt you when you have a criminal case pending. If you’re currently facing any kind of criminal charges, there are a few important things you need to keep in mind before you touch your social media accounts again:

Your accounts are definitely being watched

You may think the internet is a big place, and there are a lot of criminal defendants moving through the system, so surely investigators and prosecutors have better things to do than look at what you post. Well, that thinking is wrong.

Prosecutors and investigators are extremely conscious of social media these days. You can bet that they’ll search online for anything you may have posted recently that bolsters their case. Anything they find is generally considered public information and admissible in court.

You need to remember the cardinal rule of defense

The most important rule every defendant needs to remember when they have a criminal case pending is, “Don’t talk about your case with anybody but your attorney.” If you live in a relatively small community or your case has garnered media attention, you may be tempted to get online and defend your actions.

Don’t. You shouldn’t be posting anything about what happened, your opinion of the investigation or the people involved. You don’t want to make any kind of statements that might later be at odds with your defense. Nor do you want to make statements that — taken out of context or not — may sound threatening.

Generally speaking, it’s smart to have a long talk with your defense attorney about your social media accounts and usage as soon as you can. Don’t take chances with your future.