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Public statements can be used against DUI defendants

Getting arrested for drunk driving is an intimidating experience -- no matter the circumstances. After all, a person may feel especially helpless once police believe that they have sufficient evidence to move forward with charges for driving under the influence of alcohol.

As we discussed in an article on our site, accused individuals should know that they have rights to defend against DUI charges. Even when it seems as though a case might be open and shut, further investigation by someone who is well-versed with DUI law could expose holes in the case built by law enforcement. This right to launch a strong, thoughtful defense against any set of criminal charges is a critical constitutional protection.

Legal rights extend beyond being able to launch a defense and retain counsel. For example, people might know that they are advised about the "right to remain silent" during arrest, but they might not be sure what this means. Essentially, this is a reiteration of the Fifth Amendment -- protection against self-incrimination. In other words, any statements made during or after an arrest can be used by law enforcement officials as evidence of guilt.

Although people might realize that they could benefit from refusing comment during the actual arrest, the same idea applies throughout the criminal process. In a digitally-connected society, many people might feel inclined to voice their frustrations or concerns on social media.

An off-hand tweet or Facebook posting can be used by prosecutors as evidence, since it is a written public statement. By taking this action, a person could put their case in jeopardy, even if a statement is misconstrued. Even when a statement made on social media might suggest guilt, defendants still have the right to offer a defense. When a statement is taken out of context, challenging prosecutors may be especially critical.

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