Social media provides many advantages to people both personally and professionally. It is a convenient way to communicate with old friends, connect with colleagues, and establish relationships with people with whom you normally wouldn’t interact.
When people aren’t careful about what they post on social media sites, it can end up hurting their reputation, make it more difficult to get employment opportunities, and ruin relationships. Apparently, posting callous comments about a criminal case on a social media site can also land you in jail.
An eighteen year old Kentucky woman named Paula Asher was arrested for DUI after hitting a car in Woodford County, Kentucky in July 2012. Asher caused a side impact collision with the other vehicle that had four teenage occupants. After Asher hit the car she left the scene. Thankfully, no one was injured in the accident.
When the police officers arrived at the scene, they assessed what happened. They determined that Asher was drunk. She was charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, and possession of a controlled substance.
After Asher was released from police custody she decided to post a comment about the accident and DUI arrest on Facebook, an act that an attorney would have suggested she not do. She referred to herself as dumb and stated that she hit a car and got a DUI. She added the acronym “LOL” at the end of the sentence. People who spend a lot of time on social media sites know “LOL” stands for “laugh out loud.” Asher may have found the DUI arrest amusing but the other people involved in the accident didn’t.
The families of the teenagers notified Woodford County Judge Mary Jane Phelps about the Facebook comment during Asher’s hearing. Judge Phelps was also not pleased by Asher’s comment on the social media site and ordered her to delete the Facebook account.
Asher ignored the judge’s order. When Judge Phelps found out the Facebook account was still active she charged Asher with contempt of court. Asher was sentenced to serve two days in the county jail on August 28, 2012. When Asher returned to court on September 10, 2012 she apologized for not complying with the judge’s order and for posting the insensitive comment on Facebook. Asher also notified the court that she deleted her Facebook account, as previously ordered.
Asher told an NBC news affiliate that she was surprised her “LOL” comment landed her in jail. She stated that she didn’t mean to hurt anyone and apologized to all of the parties involved. Asher returns to court on September 24th to address the pending criminal charges.
Based on Asher’s comments to the news affiliate, it’s obvious that she doesn’t understand the power of social media. Asher stated that it wasn’t her intention to appear flippant, but that is how her comment was interpreted by the families of the teenagers and the judge.
It is important to think about how people will interpret the things you write and the images you post on social media sites. Your actions will affect how you are perceived by others and could have serious consequences.
People who are facing criminal charges have the most to lose by posting information on social media sites. When you are involved in a criminal case you want to protect yourself and make sure nothing you say can be misinterpreted or misconstrued. Even if your accounts have private settings in place, it is safer not to disclose any information related to the case. You don’t want to jeopardize the possibility of getting the charges dismissed or reduced because of information you provided on a website.
If you were charged with DUI or have concerns about how information on social media sites will affect your case, contact a DUI attorney. Schedule a free initial consultation. An experienced DUI attorney will protect your rights and implement an effective defensive strategy to fight the criminal charges.