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- in Constitutional Rights
- by Stephen Gustitis
Being charged with a crime is a frightening experience . . . it’s also dangerous. Consequently, the first line of defense in any criminal case is excercising your right to remain silent, no matter what. When potential clients call we advise every single person: “Do not speak to anyone about your case.” And of equal importance . . . “Deactivate all your Internet social media websites.”
This is critically important since everything you say about your case to anyone, except your criminal defense lawyer, can be used [Facebook] against you. Furthermore, photographs on the Internet can be used against you, as well. It makes our job defending clients more difficult when they talk about their case or have unflattering “party” photographs on Facebook, and the like. Moreover, everyone believes they’re the exception to the rule and police officers or prosecutors would never look at their social media sites. This simply isn’t true. Facebook has morphed into an outlet enabling law enforcement to track someone’s every move. Facebook is better than an ankle monitor. It allows the police to track you online and see where you’re tagged or what your status updates say you’re doing.
We had a client a few months ago who had received two Brazos County DWI’s. We asked her several times to delete her Facebook account and to stay away from establishments serving alcohol. Like many, she ignored these warnings and continued to work as a bartender. She posted updates about bar specials on her Facebook account. Unknown to her, officers tracked her Facebook posts and were waiting for her near her apartment one night after work and after she’d been drinking. She was pulled over and taken to jail. The two previous Bryan|College Station DWI charges were serious enough on their own. But now she’d serve jail time because she didn’t believe it could happen to her.
If you have a criminal charge pending, be smart, don’t go to jail over Facebook. Exercise your right to silence and speak to no one, except your lawyer. Deactivate all your Internet social media accounts to prevent the government from investigating you there. And finally, contact a Bryan|College Station criminal defense lawyer immediately to begin mounting your defense.
Check out other articles of interest here. Also, visit my Bryan|College Station Criminal Defense Blog for other posts about DWI defense and trial advocacy.