Several embarrassing, unusual drunk driving stories have made their way to news outlets over the recent holiday season, and with easy access to the internet from various sources—phone, television, laptop, etc.—these stories are quickly becoming “viral,” making their way around the state and sometimes even going nationwide (depending on how humorous or wild the story is).
While viral stories of other people’s embarrassment may give you a much-needed chuckle in your day, DUI/DWI lawyers say the subjects of these stories may have to deal with major fallout if an arrest or citation for bad behavior becomes an internet sensation.
Even before a conviction, being charged with drunk driving after a traffic stop or suspected DUI arrest can be a blow to your personal life. To minimize the effects of the charge before trial, it is important to keep the story to a minimum and control any damage that may spread. A recent holiday story shows just how quickly a drunk driving arrest can be made public and how much impact the sharing of the story can have on the driver being charged.
“Elf on the Shelf” DUI
In December 2014, police in Riverdale, N.J. noticed a man sleeping inside his car. The car was in park, but the engine was running, the radio was blasting and the headlights were on. When the police investigated, they reported that the man smelled strongly of alcohol, and accordingly, they performed field sobriety tests. Thereafter, they took the man to the police station to obtain a breath sample. The man was ultimately issued a DWI summons.
Although this sounds like a routine arrest, one fact gave the incident the push it needed to gain the attention of news outlets that report humorous or strange happenings — the man was dressed in an “Elf on the Shelf” costume. The story of his arrest was shared multiple times in various media outlets, and an otherwise run-of-the-mill drunk driving case became one with potentially widespread consequences for the driver.
If news of a drunk driving arrest is shared on social media sites or reported over and over again, the driver who has been charged may face repercussions that extend beyond the courtroom, DUI attorneys in New Jersey report. Presumably, a driver has a professional life in which a pending drunk driving charge could complicate things for him.
For example, if you have been charged with drunk driving and your story goes viral, your boss may find out. If the drunk driving charge is especially compromising (nudity, suspicious circumstances, etc.), your employer may take steps to minimize the blowback on the company, or may even penalize you for a presumed lapse in judgment, even if you have not yet been found guilty. This becomes even more serious if you work in transportation, with children or hold another profession that depends on a clean record.
At the law offices of Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, our drunk driving lawyers work to ensure that a DUI charge has minimal effects on your private and public life. If your DUI charge has gone viral and you need to take control of it quickly, contact one of our DUI/DWI lawyers today.