Social Media and Driving Under The Influence

Posted by Coleen D. St. Clair | Mar 09, 2016 | 0 Comments

Social media is an incredibly popular way for people to share life events with friends, family, and followers. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope are used by millions of people each day to share everything from news about engagements and job promotions to photos of what someone is having for lunch. Some posts, however, can get social media users into quite a bit of legal trouble.

In 2013, Richard Godbehere, of Hawaii posted a 5 minute video of himself as he was driving and drinking what appeared to be a beer. The video clip was posted to a video sharing website, LiveLeak, according to CNN. In the video Richard states that while drinking and driving is illegal, no one ever said driving then drinking was illegal. He states "You just have to be learned enough to understand the symbols of drunkeness." Police later showed up to Godbehere's home and arrested him for consuming alcohol while operating a vehicle, as well as driving without a license. Godbehere claims there wasn't beer in the bottle.

Another individual who decided to post about drinking and driving on social media was then 18-year old Jacob Cox-Brown. He posted a Facebook status that said, "Drivin drunk . . . classsic ;) but to whoever's vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P" He too was arrested after police were notified about the post. Officers had responded to a hit-and-run involving two vehicles that had been sideswiped earlier the same day Cox-Brown posted the update. Cox-Brown told the local news that the post was "a big joke." He faced charges of failing to perform the duties of a driver.

A third person, Whitney Beall, took to the social media app Periscope to post about her drunken exploits in October of 2015. Periscope is an app that allows users to live-stream their activities. Beall used the app to live-stream herself driving while intoxicated. Several people watching the stream contacted the Lakeland Police Department to report the incident. Officers were able to locate Beall after one of the officer's created an account and watched the stream. When police pulled her over they could smell alcohol on her breath. She was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. She reached a plea deal with the court in early 2016 and avoided jail time.

Driving drunk is nothing to brag about and can lead to serious legal consequences. Washington has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. Driving under the influence is defined in RCW 46.61.502 as:

(1) A person is guilty of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug if the person drives a vehicle within this state:

(a) And the person has, within two hours after driving, an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's breath or blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or

(b) The person has, within two hours after driving, a THC concentration of 5.00 or higher as shown by analysis of the person's blood made under RCW 46.61.506; or

(c) While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, or any drug; or

(d) While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor, marijuana, and any drug.

Being convicted of a DUI can lead to jail time, fines, and license suspension. If you or a loved one are facing charges of driving under the influence, do not contact social media... contact St. Clair Law Offices for a free consultation.

About the Author

Coleen D. St. Clair

Ms. St. Clair is a former senior prosecuting attorney with over 25 years experience handling criminal cases. She has successfully handled tens of thousands of criminal and DUI cases with remarkable results.

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