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New Jersey Drunk Driving Attorneys Discuss Social Media Sharing

March 15, 2013 | Posted In Criminal Law, Drunk Driving - Alcohol, Social Media |

Oversharing has become second nature to a vast majority of the up-and-coming teen generation, but New Jersey Drunk driving attorneys warn of its consequences. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are easily accessible venues for updating friends and followers about every minute of one's day-to-day activities. But, when social media users post statuses or pictures that allude to criminal activity, that information can land them in serious trouble.

Jacob Cox-Brown, an 18-year-old from Astoria, Oregon, learned that lesson when he posted this status on his Facebook page on New Year's Day: "Drivin drunk…classic ;) but to whoever's vehicle I hit I am sorry. :P." Within hours of his post, Cox-Brown's friends had alerted members of the Astoria police department on their own personal Facebook pages, and made calls to the department headquarters. It didn't take long for police to make the connection between Cox-Brown's alleged accident and a hit-and-run from earlier that day, reported around 1:00 a.m.

At the scene of the hit-and-run, Astoria police officers collected scattered pieces of the car that had hit a parked white Scion. When officers received the tip about Cox-Brown's allegedly drunken accident, they were able to match the car parts from the scene with the damage on his car. Cox-Brown claimed that the accident occurred when he hit an icy patch in the road, and not his alcohol consumption. He was arrested for "failing to perform the duties of a driver." Whether or not he was driving drunk at the time has yet to be determined.

Although Cox-Brown claims he intended his status to be funny, his friends—and the police officers who arrived at the scene of the hit-and-run—did not appreciate the joke. Cox-Brown has no expectation of privacy when he posts on his Facebook page, New Jersey drunk driving attorneys say. Once the high school senior made his status public to his friends and followers, police could use that information to investigate Cox-Brown as a suspect in the reported hit-and-run.

"Astoria Police have an active social media presence," Deputy Chief of Police Brad Johnston told reporters. State police departments are adopting similar tactics across the country, using sites such as Facebook and Twitter to investigate criminal activity. Like all other Facebook members, officers have access to anything posted on a public profile. The New Jersey DUI lawyers at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA advise social media users to take care in what they post, and what personal information they share with an unknown audience. If you are facing criminal charges, contact an experienced NJ lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA today.

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