With this in mind, D.C. DUI attorneys want to urge you to avoid social media commentary regarding your arrest. Really, this goes for anyone facing any type of criminal charge.
Too many people mistakenly believe that their social media sites are private. They only are to an extent, and the fact is, what you post on your Facebook wall or on your Twitter feed can come back to haunt you, as one young lady recently learned.
National media has picked up the story of an 18-year-old Kentucky woman who was recently arrested for DUI. According to news reports, she had been involved in an accident in which she allegedly T-boned another vehicle that had four other teenagers inside. Officers on the scene determined she was drunk.
After she was booked, processed, given a court date and released, the woman hopped onto Facebook.
There, she made the following post:
“My dumb (expletive) got a DUI and I hit a car LOL.”
The judge, however, was not laughing when it was brought to her attention by the individuals who were in the other vehicle. It’s not clear how they were able to access the posting, though it’s worth noting that in this digital age, it is certainly not unheard of.
When the judge reviewed the posting, she ordered the woman to close down her Facebook page. When the woman ignored the judge’s order, the judge charged her with contempt of court and sentenced her to two days in jail.
The woman did end up apologizing, and later said, “I didn’t think LOL would put me in jail.”
In addition to the contempt charge, she is facing charges of DUI, hit-and-run and possession of a controlled substance.
The woman later told a reporter that she hadn’t intended for the comment to make light of what happened. While it’s hard to see it any other way, that’s the problem with social media, or any form of electronic communication really. It’s almost impossible to convey tone. It is very easy for words and statements to be misconstrued.
It’s also very easy to fire off comments in the immediate aftermath of an event. In years past, these would never have made their way into a courtroom. But the world is changing, and defendants have to expect that the words they put on their wall posts can be seen by almost anyone, and used in a way that could be detrimental to their case.
The best way to avoid this, of course, is to omit any reference to the incident, arrest or court case in your social media communications. Also, it’s not a bad idea to enhance all of your privacy settings.
Otherwise, you risk potentially hurting your chances of getting charges reduced or dismissed.
If you are facing DUI charges in D.C., contact the Law Office of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights or fill out our online contact form. Visa, Mastercard and Discover cards accepted. Call 202-596-5716.