Stacey M. Washington, Attorney and CounselorAttorney and Counselor
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Why You Should Not Discuss Your OWI Case on Social Media Networks

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If you have been charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in Michigan, you should not discuss any aspect of your case on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace.

Discussing your case on social media channels may result in you revealing self-incriminating evidence that may be asserted against you by the prosecutor.

For instance, it is a common practice for prosecutors to investigate your online activity in order to gather incriminating evidence against you in an effort to establish guilt of the charges asserted. This type of investigation occurred in Oregon recently regarding a young adult's self-incriminating statements made on Facebook.

A young adult in Oregon posted information pertaining to a car accident he caused on Facebook. 18 year-old Jacob Cox-Brown was arrested after telling his Facebook network that he had hit a car while driving drunk. Specifically, the young adult sent the following message to his Facebook friends:

"Driving drunk...classic ;) but to whoever's vehicle I hit I am sorry. :p"

The local police received the information from two of Cox-Brown's Facebook friends. The police investigated the information and linked Cox-Brown to a reported hit-and-run. Cox-Brown was charged accordingly.

In Ohio, a man recently confessed in an online video to killing a man in a drunk driving accident. Matthew Cordle, the defendant, released a video on YouTube describing how he allegedly drove the wrong way on Columbus interstate and crashed into Vincent Canzani, a 61 year-old veteran. The video has been used as evidence against Cordle to charge him with aggravated vehicular homicide.

The examples above illustrate how statements made on social networking sites may be used against you by police and local prosecutors if you have been charged with an OWI. Not only do government agencies have the power to subpoena social media websites in order to obtain information about your account activity, they often search such popular social networks to gather incriminating evidence against individuals.

I recommend you read Social Media: Establishing Criteria for Law Enforcement Use to gain a better understanding about how law enforcement agencies are using social media to obtain incriminating information for pending criminal legal matters.

If you or a loved one has been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Ann Arbor, contact experienced DUI attorney Stacey Washington. Call 734-274-6567 or email Stacey for a case evaluation.


Man Who Confessed To Drunk-Driving In Online Video Charged

Social Media: Establishing Criteria for Law Enforcement Use

Jacob Cox-Brown, Oregon Teen, Posts Facebook Status About Drunk Driving, Gets Arrested

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