Social Media Is Evidence in DWI Cases
The proliferation of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter has created a culture of oversharing personal information. Incredulously, this includes people posting incriminating information about themselves that either leads to their arrest or is used as evidence in a trial. In cases of driving while intoxicated, some suspects share details about traffic incidents and their drinking habits before they have been arrested. A court may view these posts as admissions of guilt. If you are involved in a suspected DWI incident, you must be silent on social media in order to protect yourself.
If you are pulled over by a police officer, you should know not to brag about how much you’ve had to drink or how your intoxication may have affected your driving ability. People are essentially doing just that when they post information about their DWI incident to social media. Many users forget how social media actually works:
- Anything you post, even with privacy settings, becomes public information with an electronic record;
- When you share information with someone, you do not control who else that person shares the information with; and
- Deleted posts leave traces that can lead to their recovery.
Prosecutors and police officers know that a suspect’s social media accounts may contain information relevant to the case. If the information is not publicly available, they may be able to obtain a warrant to search your electronic devices for:
- Records of deleted social media posts;
- Private posts shared with friends; and
- Private messages, including emails.
As mentioned earlier, deleting a social media post will not prevent prosecutors from finding it and using it against you. Instead, a court may consider deleting the post to be destroying evidence, which can cause additional charges and punishments.
Texas courts are still debating what protections social media accounts have under the fourth amendment, which prevents unreasonable search and seizure of private property. If you use social media to publicly share information about your DWI incident, there is no doubt that prosecutors will be able to access that evidence. However, individual courts may have differing opinions on whether prosecutors should be allowed to search your private messages for evidence relating to your DWI charges. The only way to prevent your social media activity from becoming evidence against you is by not using it. A San Antonio DWI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can instruct you on what not to say or do when facing DWI charges. Schedule a free consultation by calling 888-726-5625.