DUI and social media can be a bad combination in Georgia DUI cases. It is important to be careful what you put on social media platforms after an arrest for DUI. Specifically, after a DUI arrest in Hall County, you should:
- Not talk about the charges
- Not add people to your social media networks
- Not post anything about the arrest, and
- Not make statements against your interests.
Below we discuss more thoroughly why you should avoid social media discussions about your case.
Talking About Your Hall County DUI Charges on Social Media
As a general rule, you should never talk about any criminal charges you may be facing in Hall County, Georgia, on any of your social media platforms. This includes talking about the type of charges, and the facts and circumstances that may have led to the charges. This also includes any facts and circumstances you believe prove you are not guilty of the charges. You shouldn't talk to anyone about criminal charges or even potential criminal charges with anyone but your lawyer.
This rule holds true in all circumstances. It includes talking to your mom, your boyfriend, your best friend, or the lady at the checkout counter. You may be creating possible witnesses for the State by sharing details the prosecution believes can help prove your guilt. It is especially important to avoid commenting on criminal charges or potential criminal charges on social media. There have been any number of criminal cases where someone's social media posts have led to a criminal conviction. From live streaming drunk driving conduct on Periscope to posting, “I was so drunk I hit a parked car!” on Facebook, people have been convicted when the prosecution uses your own words against them.
Adding People to Your Social Networks
While the law remains unsettled regarding privacy rights and the fourth amendment, one thing is certain: you do not have a right to privacy regarding the information you post about yourself on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social media site. Consequently, after you are charged with a crime or after you think you may be charged with a crime, do not add people to your social network -- at least not until your case is.
In this day and age, it is not uncommon for people to receive requests to connect with people they don't know or people they don't know well. Because the police know that many people post comments about pending criminal charges on their social media, they often take advantage of this fact. There have been documented cases where police have requested a connection on a social media platform. Once they are approved, they have access to a person's entire posting history. This includes pictures of the car after the crash, perhaps a video of the driver doing shots just minutes before leaving the bar, conversations about which attorney to hire, and any number of other bits of relevant information.
Once something is posted, it cannot be permanently erased. Nothing completely “disappears” from the internet.
Posting to Social Media Creates Evidence that Can Be Used Against You
When you post to social media, you create a record. This record can sometimes be used against you in court. From comments that you make to pictures that you post, anything you post on your social media site can be captured and retained. Later, the state may use this evidence against you in your Hall County DUI case. This is not limited only to comments you make about the incident in question. A subsequent comment about how hungover you are or how you had to go to the chiropractor because your back hurt creates a record that can possibly be used against you. Depending on the judge and the circumstances of the case, even evidence of excessive drinking at another time may be used against you.
Posting on social media also creates witnesses. This is particularly true if you are posting videos or pictures. Even if you later remove the video, picture, or comment, anyone who saw the video, picture, or comment may be called to testify. Imagine, for example, you post a video of you and your friends searching in the bushes trying to find a lost hubcap after you drove over a curb, or doing a round of shots, or you struggling to stand. All of these are indicative of your drunken state and could contribute to the State's ability to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Making Statements Against Your Interests
Many people who have not attended law school are able to cite the standard for hearsay. Hearsay, which is generally inadmissible in court, is any out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Consequently, if someone says, “It looks rainy and windy outside. I think I'll take my umbrella with me,” this statement cannot later be used in court to prove it was rainy and windy that say.
However, as a general rule, and in almost every circumstance, statements made by the defendant are admissible in court. This is true even if they were statements made out of court and even if they are offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Consequently, if someone charged with a DUI in Georgia says on his or her social media forum, “I can't believe I got charged with a DUI. Although I suppose I'm lucky because I drive drunk all the time and this is only the second time I got caught,” this statement can be introduced in court.
Of course, the example above is a bit extreme. More typical examples of how social media comments can be used against someone include posting something like this:
- “Got in an accident last night. Anyone know a good body shop?” after an alleged hit and run.
- “Had a blood draw last night. Hope they don't lose the evidence – hey, does anyone work at the hospital?”
- “I so need a good DUI lawyer. . . “
- “Who knows how to beat a DUI charge?"
If You are Facing DUI Charges...
If you are facing DUI charges, get yourself a Hall County DUI attorney who knows DUI and criminal law. Not just any attorney will do. Then, do not speak about the case with anyone other than your criminal DUI attorney. Avoid posting pictures of the case. Do not complain about the inconvenience of making a court appearance. Do not joke about your situation or act like it is “no big deal” because it is a big deal. DUIs come with both criminal and civil consequences. So, contact us today. Our Gainesville DUI lawyers will fight for your rights.