If a North Dakota or Minnesota police officer pulls you over and winds up taking you into custody for suspected drunk driving, you will be facing many legal decisions in the coming weeks. For instance, you must determine whether you wish to plead guilty or not guilty. DUI carries severe penalties under conviction, which is why it’s important to clearly understand your criminal defense options before heading to court.
You might think it would be helpful to turn to family and friends for advice in such circumstances, especially those who have faced similar legal problems in the past. Nowadays, a typical way to reach out is by posting on social media platforms. However, you might want to avoid sharing information about your DUI case on social media.
Social media posts constitute evidence that is discoverable
If you are active on social media, you might find that people often offer encouragement and support if you reach out when you are struggling in life. When you post something online, especially if you have a public status, anyone using the platform can see what you have shared. This can backfire on you in court, if you say the wrong things.
For instance, if someone is facing DUI charges and posts photos or statements on social media about drinking at a party that took place shortly before police pulled him or her over in a traffic stop, a prosecutor might use that public post as evidence to incriminate the defendant in court.
Do not assume that your social media posts are confidential
If you have an active DUI case, do not assume that what you share on social media is confidential. It is not. In fact, it is a good idea to imagine that investigators, prosecutors and, perhaps, a judge or jury will see whatever you post. There’s no guarantee that will happen, but there is also no guarantee that it won’t.
It is legal to submit public social media posts as evidence
You may have heard it said that garnering information from social media to use for incrimination purposes is illegal. This is not necessarily true, if you shared a post publicly. Also, you might post something that you later determine might hurt your DUI case, so you think it is best to delete it. This might not be such a good idea.
In certain circumstances, you might wind up accused of attempting to destroy evidence that is relevant to your case, which would only make matters worse.
Avoid stress while navigating the criminal justice system
Facing DUI charges or other criminal charges in a North Dakota or Minnesota court is a stressful matter. Why add to that stress by posting things on social media that can work against you in court? Instead, consider limiting your posts to topics that are not associated with your criminal case in any way.
It is also helpful to make sure you know how to build a strong defense because a strong defense is often the key to a positive outcome.