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Your Social Media Posts Can Increase The Penalties For A DUI

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If you're convicted of a DUI offense (or have pled guilty), watch what you post on your social media accounts both before and after you are sentenced. Here's why:

Your social media posts can be used to increase your sentence.

There's often a period of time before sentencing during which a presentence investigation report is done. This investigation looks into your life, character, and background to determine if there are any mitigating factors that should make the court go lighter on you. It also looks for any aggravating factors that could encourage the court to sentence you more harshly.

More than one individual has made the mistake of thinking that his or her social media accounts weren't going to matter during sentencing. However, a photo of you holding a beer at your cousin's Fourth of July barbecue can be used as evidence that you're a habitual drinker, not someone that made a one-time mistake. A comment that you may think of as inoffensive could be misconstrued as flippant by the judge.

For example, a Kentucky woman landed in jail after she remarked "LOL" for "laughing out loud" in a comment she apparently meant to be self-deprecating. She was remarking on her own stupidity for getting a DUI. The judge, however, saw it as a sign that she didn't take the DUI seriously enough.

What you post can also be taken as an indication of whether or not you have learned anything from your brush with the law, or feel remorse for your actions. For example, a New York teenager posted a drunken photo of herself on her social media page while awaiting sentencing after a drunk driving incident that killed her boyfriend. As a result, the judge denied her youthful offender status (which would have given her a lighter punishment) and sentenced her to 6 months in jail. He specifically cited the photo as a sign that she hadn't "earned" a more lenient approach.

Your social media posts could lead to a probation violation.

If you are sentenced to probation after a DUI, part of the terms of your probation may include orders not to drink. You may also be required to submit to random breathalyzer or urine tests to check for compliance.

A Michigan woman learned the hard way that bragging online about beating a breathalyzer test after doing some partying on St. Patrick's day was unwise. A police officer noticed her post and alerted her probation officer -- and the woman eventually ended up back in jail.

If your cousin tags you in a photo that shows you celebrating Thanksgiving dinner with a glass of wine in your hand and your probation officer see it, you might find yourself in jail before Christmas.

Social media has changed a lot of things, including what goes on inside courtrooms these days. If you have any questions about how to handle your social media accounts after a DUI offense, talk to your attorney. For more information, go to