For What Reasons Should I Avoid Social Media During the DUI Court Process in Pennsylvania (PA)?

reasons social media pennsylvania dui pa

Your arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has left you feeling humiliated and isolated. In light of those negative feelings, you may feel inclined to log onto social media and seek sympathy from your friends. As comforting as that may seem, it could complicate your legal difficulties, because you can bet that Pennsylvania (PA) law enforcement all up and down the chain will scour your posts, looking for incriminating evidence to use against you in court. For more information on the reasons why you should avoid social media during the DUI court process in PA, please read on, then contact a Pittsburgh lawyer experienced in the DUI court process. Some of the most compelling reasons to avoid social media during the DUI court process in PA include:

Your profile is not private

At various times throughout your criminal case, the police and prosecutor may comb through your public social media profiles in search of evidence that will corroborate their case against you. Because a judge can issue a subpoena that grants them access, the police and prosecutors may still obtain your social media history even if you have changed your settings to private.

Every post leaves a trail

In an effort to obstruct the investigation, you – like many defendants – may delete any posts that you consider incriminating. But you should know that the police and prosecutors may recover the information directly from the social media company by obtaining a subpoena. Compounding your potential difficulties, the trier of fact, i.e. the judge or jury, might construe deletion of posts as an intentional act of obstruction or self-incrimination, which, upon conviction, may result in harsher penalties.

Location data

To determine the time and location of your calls, texts and postings on social media, the police and prosecutors can obtain cell phone data. They can use this evidence to construct a timeline of your movements and to prove, along with other evidence, that you had driven on a highway or trafficway after imbibing alcohol or a controlled substance.

The damage to your reputation

Even if the photos and videos date from a time when you were not in actual physical control of a motor vehicle on a highway or trafficway, any evidence proving that you engage in less-than-responsible behavior could prejudice the trier of fact against you. During a criminal review, pictures from a previous drunken escapade could prove harmful. Despite being profoundly unconstitutional, triers of fact often can’t help but base their decisions, in some part, on feelings and impressions as opposed to objectively verifiable facts. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to have a conviction overturned.

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