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Social Media Evidence in a Michigan DUI Case

With the proliferation of social media over the past decade, many people fail to realize the impact that these platforms can have on their lives. For instance, if you are charged with a criminal offense, investigators can look to your social media accounts for evidence in the form of timelines of events and/or patterns of behavior.

Over the past decade, social media have become a normal part of our everyday lives. Millions of citizens routinely post updates to their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts several times a day without a second thought as to how it may impact them in the future. While these “social” networks may seem harmless, you should be aware that posts you have shared or been tagged in could be used as evidence against you if you are charged with drunk or drugged driving during the DUI case process.

If you have been charged with a crime such as drunk or drugged driving, it is imperative that you monitor what you share through your social media accounts. Even if you have not been charged with a crime, you should use good judgment when posting to social media in order to prevent sabotaging yourself in the future.

Prosecution Using Social Media

Depending on the nature of the charge and the facts of the case, the prosecution could use your social media posts or posts that you have been tagged in to establish a timeline of events. For instance, if you posted photos of yourself and friends taking shots at the bar at midnight and were subsequently pulled over while driving at 12:30 a.m., the prosecution could use this against you.

If you are facing a drunk driving charge, you should not comment about it through your social media accounts. Again, criminal investigators routinely access the Internet to obtain information about defendants, and anything you say could potentially be used against you.

Cases Involving Social Media

In one highly publicized case, a Florida woman was convicted of two counts of DUI Manslaughter after being involved in a head-on collision that resulted in the deaths of two people. Prior to the accident, the woman posted a tweet that read, “2 drunk 2 care.” The prosecution also introduced other posts from the woman’s Twitter account that referenced her habitual alcohol and marijuana use as evidence against her.

Use Good Judgment When Posting to Social Media

Even if you have never been charged with a criminal offense, it’s important to use good judgment when it comes to social media. Many people—mostly young adults—have been charged with serious crimes after posting evidentiary content through social media. Live tweeting your night out drinking with friends and your subsequent drive home is generally not a good idea.

A woman in Florida, for example, decided to Periscope herself driving home while intoxicated. Periscope is a live video streaming platform, and everyone watching this woman online witnessed her state that she was drunk numerous times as she drove her car. One watcher called the local police, and she was subsequently arrested and charged.