Use of Social Media as Evidence in DUI Cases

A teen driver who decided to enter a somewhat cavalier post on her Facebook page in the wake of a fatal auto accident in which her boyfriend was killed received a more severe penalty from the judge who sentenced her. The teenager pled guilty to negligent homicide and DUI and was set to be sentenced as a youthful offender. The youthful offender status would have allowed her to receive a lesser sentence, to serve any sentence in a juvenile facility, and avoid the potential long-term impact of a criminal conviction.

However, the judge discovered a Facebook post made after the accident, which he found deeply troubling. A few months after the accident she posted a picture on her Facebook web page captioned “Drunk in Texas.” Upon finding the post, the judge changed his mind and decided to sentence her as an adult. The judge sentenced the defendant to 6 months in county jail followed by 5 years of probation. She will also be required to wear an ankle bracelet for a year after her release from jail. The judge also revoked her driver’s license. “I’m troubled by your conduct since the crash,” said the judge.

A defense attorney, who frequently handles DUI cases, indicated teenagers and others who use social media need to realize that descriptions or pictures of embarrassing or even criminal activity can have very negative and unintended consequences. Many teenagers are posting pictures of drug use and underage drinking on social media he explained. “Teenagers need to realize that such post that may seem harmless at the time can later mean the difference between freedom and a jail sentence.”

He points out that the incident in which Michael Phillip’s picture was posted smoking from a bong should serve as an example of the potential negative impact of not being careful about how one is portrayed in a photo. “Phillips went from 14-time Olympic gold medallist to potentially facing arrest on a drug charge in a very short period of time.” People need to remember anything posted on a social media network including incriminating admissions or images is available for the world to see — a world that includes police and prosecutors.

If you or someone that you know has been charged with a crime, you no longer have to worry about finding an aggressive DUI attorney. Do not allow a DUI arrest to destroy your life. Act immediately.

Teen Drunk Driving

The commonality of underage drinking is staggering. Within the past month, 28% of high school students reported that they have accepted a ride from a driver under the influence of alcohol, on at least one occasion. According to SADD, Students against Drunk Driving, statistics show that young people are less likely to use their seatbelts after drinking. Over 74% of the teens killed in car crashes in 2019 were not buckled in.

The rise in underage drinking can also be related to additional socio-economic problems, such as pregnancy, violence, drug use, and criminal behavior. Minors who consume alcohol between the ages of 12-20 years old are two and half times more likely to develop an alcohol dependency later in life. Around 10% of the admissions to substance rehabilitation clinics are under the legal age.