Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyer - Skinner Law FirmTechnology has enabled an increasingly interconnected world. Billions of people now carry devices with them that allow them to instantly access the internet and social media platforms that boast millions of users. Easy mass communication with family, friends, and social communities, regardless of where they are, is now common.

Many people enjoy posting large amounts of information about themselves online, including photos, achievements, opinions, videos, and more. While sharing information and getting positive feedback can be fun and even addictive, there are risks with such behavior, particularly in certain situations.

If you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you need to take a social media break. There are many reasons to do so, but first and foremost is anything you post online, regardless of privacy settings, may be used by law enforcement in the case against you. Additionally, current and potential employers may view your pictures and comments, and decline to offer you professional opportunities. Finally, intentionally protecting your privacy may enable you to better protect your reputation and your future.

Being arrested for a DUI can be a stressful and even frightening experience. You may be anxious and worried about what will happen next. The fact is, some things are outside of your control. However, what you put online is not one of them. Do what you can to ensure you have the best possible defense and outcomes.

When, Where, and How to Use Photos

You may have been in a car accident at the time of your DUI arrest. If that is the case, you may have taken or have access to photographs of the accident, damaged vehicles or property, and any injuries for insurance purposes. Such photos are useful for necessary investigations, and may help establish liability and damages. However, under no circumstance should you post any of these images on a social media platform or online. Doing so may have inadvertent consequences, from providing new evidence in the criminal case against you to increasing your liability in a related civil case.

The self-imposed restriction on posting photos should not be limited to the DUI incident itself. It should also include no photos of you partying, consuming alcohol, or otherwise behaving as though you are not serious and remorseful about the actions that caused your DUI. State prosecutors will thoroughly investigate your online footprint. They may view your social media accounts, and those of anyone else who may know you and has tagged your image. Do not provide any fuel for the case against you.

The legal team at Skinner Law Firm has other tips about photographs that can help you to avoid the worst possible outcomes for your case. Contact us today to learn more.

“No Comment” Is Best

Some people who are facing legal issues will intentionally avoid making comments on their own social media but still freely comment elsewhere. Do not make this mistake. Any comment you make, regardless of whether it is on your account or someone else’s, can harm your defense and help the prosecutors making the case against you.

Do not make any comments, anywhere, about drinking, drinking and driving, or law enforcement. Saying nothing is the best way to ensure you do not further damage your reputation, impune your own character, or accidentally imply you have no remorse.

The importance of silence online for your defense cannot be overstated. If you find it difficult or even impossible to stay off of social media, and you are irresistibly tempted to engage with photos or comments, you should delete your accounts. This may seem drastic; however, you can always create new accounts later, after the court has disposed of your DUI charges.

“Private” Doesn’t Really Mean Private

There are serious, and some still unresolved, legal issues around data, privacy, and ownership of the information available on social media platforms. The privacy settings you use, or think you are using, for your accounts and profiles on various social media sites does not mean they are actually private, or that prosecutors will not be able to access all of your information. In fact, you should never consider anything done online as absolutely secure, private, protected, or undiscoverable during a criminal investigation. This rule applies for your own social media accounts, those of people who may know you, and for anything you post elsewhere. Given this reality, the best thing you can do for yourself is to control what you post and what you share. Never assume or trust social media sites are protecting you and your information, or that “private” is actually private.

Get the Help You Need From the Skinner Law Firm

If you are charged with DUI, you need to do everything you can to help yourself. Don’t use social media, and do get an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Whether this is your first, second, or third DUI offense, you have the right to an attorney who will make every applicable defense and zealously advocate for you, your rights, and your future.

Michael J. Skinner is an experienced criminal defense lawyer, and as a former Assistant District Attorney, he has also prosecuted DUI cases in the past. He therefore has a deep understanding of how the prosecution works, and the strategies they use to try to prove their cases.

Since Michael J. Skinner has been in the shoes of the prosecutor, his knowledge is invaluable to his clients. Past clients have entrusted him to help them get through some of the most challenging times in their lives, and you can read what they have said about their experiences with him and the legal team at Skinner Law Firm.

Facing a DUI charge can be a daunting experience, but you do not have to face it alone. Hire an advocate who will work hard for you, and get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact Skinner Law Firm today at (610) 436-1410 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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