Odds are that you likely use social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to stay in contact with friends and family and to share fun activities and experiences with your social network. While this may be harmless in general, posts about social events where you are consuming alcohol or about your arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) can be harmful to your criminal case. It is important that you understand how prior social media posts can help the police build a case against you, and why it is important to avoid posting anything in the future that may make your situation worse. As a general rule, you should never post anything on social media about any pending criminal case you are facing without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Whatever you post online is not private or confidential, and it may be used by law enforcement if they find it.
How Social Media Posts Can Harm You If You Face DUI Charges
It is not only your own posts but also the posts about you or where you are tagged by family or friends that can cause problems when you are charged with DUI, as well as other offenses. Here are some of the ways that social media posts can be damaging:
- Not private. The police and prosecutor may search your public social media sites at various times during your criminal case to look for evidence that can help them prove your guilt. Even if you have changed your social media site settings to private, this does not mean that they cannot obtain your social media history. A judge can issue a subpoena that gives them access to this information.
- Deleted posts. Some people charged with DUI attempt to delete prior incriminating posts. However, the police may obtain a subpoena allowing them to recover this information directly from the social media company. In addition, the fact that you deleted the posts may be considered intentional and may result in you receiving a harsher penalty if you are convicted.
- Location information. The police can obtain cell phone data to determine the time and location of calls, texts, and other uses of your cell phone. In addition, when you post on Facebook, the time and location of your post will also be logged. All of this information can be used to create a timeline of where you were before your DUI arrest to help prove that you were consuming alcohol or that you drank more than you claim.
What happens if you already posted damaging posts on your social media sites? An experienced Fairfax DUI attorney will have strategies to handle problems these posts may pose to your criminal case. To learn about our years of experience helping our clients fight DUI charges and what to expect in your criminal case, fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.