It’s hard to imagine a world without social media at present. Social media helps us stay in touch with friends and family and find out what’s happening in the world. For the most part, using social media is perfectly harmless, but users should be cautious about what they post lest it lead to trouble down the road. What you may think is a funny way of sharing moments with friends can be evidence against you if you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law. In California, the information you post on your social media can be used to hurt your DUI case further.
How Social Media Can Negatively Affect Your DUI Case
Posts about you or where you’re tagged by other people can escalate your DUI case and add different offenses. Here are the most common ways social media can be damaging to your case:
- Nothing is ever private – People often think that if they need to hide their social life from the police and maintain privacy, the best way to do this would be to enable their privacy settings. While this may work for your average social media user or stalker, nothing can stop the police or prosecution from getting their hands on your social media history. Law enforcement can request a subpoena from a judge that compels your social media service provider to make your information accessible.
- Deleted posts – So what about deleting posts? Does deleting posts exonerate you from incrimination? Unfortunately, just like “hiding” your posts with privacy settings, police can still dig up a lot of dirt on you that you thought you deleted. They can do this by obtaining a subpoena that legally compels the third party (in this case, the social media site in question) to retrieve all your deleted information. Moreover, deleting posts suggests elements of guilt and intent, which may result in the prosecution pushing for more stringent penalties.
- Your location information – Besides your posts and personal information, police can also retrieve metadata like calls, texts, location, and other uses from your phone. You’re probably only slightly aware of this, but the time and place are usually part of the log when you post something online. Social media service providers can also determine where you made a post. All this information can be used to create a timeline of events that proves you’re guilty of a DUI at the time of the arrest.
Steps To Safeguard Yourself From Self-Incrimination
Even if you’re yet to face criminal charges, it’s crucial to steer clear of social media and not post further information that may potentially be self-incriminating. However, if you’re already facing DUI charges, you should carefully consider everything you do or post concerning your social media. If you’re currently under investigation, the following steps may help protect you from self-incrimination:
- Avoid social media until your case is over – As we’ve come to establish, enabling privacy settings doesn’t matter. The police will get what they want. They can bypass all these settings or scour through your friends’ profiles who have less secure settings. It’s also not uncommon for law enforcement and social media representatives to work together on a criminal investigation.
- Deleting your posts may not be the greatest idea. While this may seem like the most logical option before an investigation, such an action during an investigation may result in more charges. If you have question about specific posts, contact your qualified attorney and he or she can advise you on what to do.
- Let your friends and family know you’ll be away. If you’re the target of a DUI investigation, the police will probably use some of the surveillance techniques we discussed in our “What is Police & Government Surveillance like in California & How to Minimize Detection” article. The contents of your phone or your friends’ can all be admissible evidence in court, which is why you should ask them to only communicate with you in person (and make sure that no listening devices are around). Consider following some of the tips we outlined in this article: How to evade the police 101.
- Hire an excellent criminal defense attorney – If you have reason to believe that your social media activity can negatively impact your DUI case, an experienced, specialized DUI defense lawyer can help guide you through the murk of DUI charges.
Contact Your Criminal Defense Hero who Specializes in DUI Charges
If you have any online message implicating you for drinking and driving, you need an experienced defense attorney to prevent a conviction. Attorney Don Hammond has over a decade of experience defending people facing DUI charges across the state. Contact your local DUI Defense Hero at +1 323-529-3660 to book your first appointment.