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Understanding the impact of social media on New York DUI cases

People in New York City, and throughout the state, who are believed to be driving drunk are frequently arrested by law enforcement. According to a report by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, there were 50,805 drunk driving arrests in 2013 alone. Often, those arrested do not realize that in addition to field sobriety and breath tests, their social media accounts could also be used against them. At the law firm Martin A. Kron & Associates, LLP, we often work with people who have experienced this type of situation and are unaware of the potential consequences. In this post, we will discuss how social media can impact DUI cases.

Sometimes, law enforcement will use social media posts to establish a timeline of events. This could work either in the favor of, or against, the person accused of an alcohol-related offense. For example, photos identified with times or locations might show people drinking shortly before they were stopped while driving by authorities. In these cases, those photos could be used as evidence to help establish that they were indeed under the influence at the time of their arrest.

In some cases, people may be required to abstain from consuming alcohol as a part of their DUI case. If they should decide to drink, and anything is posted to social media, it could have a negative impact. As a result, they may lose out on the opportunity to participate in certain programs and could face more serious penalties.

Often, people believe that they are safe because their profile settings are set to private. While this may prevent authorities from viewing their posts specifically, it does not guarantee that they will not see other’s posts. Posts from friends and acquaintances may not be private, which could allow it to be accessed by law enforcement. Additionally, authorities may create fictitious profiles and send friend requests in order to gain access to the profiles of those they are investigating.   

To learn more about DUIs and the potential penalties, please visit our driving while intoxicated page.

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