Social media sites have definitely made the world a smaller place. Not only can Facebook help you keep in touch with friends and family around Wisconsin, but it can also keep you connected to others from around the country and the world.
But sites like Facebook also have some drawbacks, especially for those with a tendency to over-share. Therefore, it should go without saying that if you do something illegal, the worst place to brag about it is on Facebook. One young man learned this lesson the hard way after a night of alleged drunk driving.
Recently, police in an Oregon town arrested an 18-year-old man based on a message he had posted on his publicly viewable Facebook account. The message said:
“Drivin’ drunk . . . classic. But to whoever’s vehicle I hit I am sorry.”
Friends and acquaintances of the defendant brought the message to the attention of law enforcement. With this lead, police were able to match the young man’s car to a hit-and-run crash report from the previous night. That report detailed significant damage to a parked car that had been sideswiped. The car in front of it also suffered damage in the crash.
Commenting on the case, a law enforcement press release warned that “Astoria Police have an active social media presence. It was a private Facebook message to one of our officers that got this case moving, though. When you post … on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long.”
The young man was ultimately arrested, and he has been charged with “two counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver,” according to recent news article.
To be sure, evidence of criminal activity gleaned from Facebook and other social media sites may not always have the same weight in court as evidence collected directly by law enforcement. However, it could still land you in serious trouble.
Therefore, the moral of the story remains the same: if you have done something illegal, the worst place to brag about it is on Facebook.
Source: The Daily Astorian, “Facebook post lands Astoria man in jail,” Chelsea Gorrow, Jan. 3, 2013