Discussing legal matters on the internet is really never a good idea, and this is especially true with regard to criminal cases. A Michigan woman, who was on probation for DWI, may be returning to jail because of a Facebook post in which she reportedly admitted to drinking alcohol. The probation department, alerted by local police, tried to investigate further, and subsequently asked the court to rule her in violation of the terms of her probation. This could result in her serving the actual jail term included in her conviction.
The woman was convicted of DWI and put on probation in 2012. She was reportedly participating in a specialized probation program for DWI offenders that required her to submit to random breath tests. The probation department brought in over two hundred “high risk probationers,” including her, for testing over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. In a Facebook post later that day, she stated that she passed the breath test even though she had drank the previous day. She reportedly only had a few weeks left on her probation period at the time.
A police officer saw the Facebook post and notified the probation department. Since consuming alcohol could constitute a violation of her probation, the probation department ordered her to submit to additional testing. A probation officer called her to tell her to come in for a urine test, which would reveal whether she had consumed any alcohol during the previous eighty hours. The woman allegedly hung up on the probation officer. The department considered this a violation of her probation, and notified the court.
The most recent media reports on the story, from late March, state that she was due in court for a show cause hearing on April 1, 2014. At that hearing, the court could decide whether to revoke her probation, which could result in up to ninety-three days in jail, or to modify the terms of her probation to include additional services, more testing, or additional fines.
Social media may offer all sorts of benefits to people, but law enforcement is also finding that it is an excellent source of evidence in criminal cases. Police have arrested people based almost exclusively on materials posted by that person to Facebook and other sites. At least twice in the past year, once in Texas and once in Kentucky, police arrested people who posted pictures or videos of themselves engaging in illegal activity with the message “Catch me if you can.”
The woman’s Facebook post could be treated as an admission by the court, possibly resulting in probation revocation. In the case of a new alleged DWI offense, prosecutors might not be able to make a case based solely on pictures, video, or statements posted to social media, but they could potentially use them as supporting evidence.
A DWI arrest in New Jersey can seriously affect your life, whether or not you are ever convicted of an offense. If you have been arrested or charged with DWI, you need the help of a qualified and skilled DWI attorney. At Levow & Associates, we have dedicated 100% of our law practice to DWI defense. We can can advise you of your rights and plan the best possible defense for you. We are available to help you 24/7. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to see how we can help you, please contact us online or at (877) 593-1717.
More Blog Posts:
NJ DWI First Offense Cases, New Jersey DWI Attorney Blog, February 13, 2014
New Jersey DWI defense strategy: When other serious charges may affect your outcome, New Jersey DWI Attorney Blog, January 3, 2014
NJ DWI Breath Testing Fallacy, New Jersey DWI Attorney Blog, December 16, 2013