Putting Your “Drunk Driving Experience” on the Internet

In a Word: DON’T

Although this isn’t a Michigan-based case, it is a classic example of why we advise our clients to keep any “mistakes” they might make far away from social media. A surprising number of people have been arrested for posting illegal activities to Facebook. And this particular case is no different.

Whitney Beall, a 23-year-old woman from Florida, was drinking and driving on a recent Friday night. But what made her drunk driving experience different from most other intoxicated drivers, was the fact that she streamed her drunken ride live over Periscope. In case you’re wondering, Periscope is an app owned by Twitter that allows users to stream live video to internet viewers.

“I am [expletive] drunk and this is horrible, I don’t even know where the next gas station is, this is horrible guys…” Beall moaned to viewers. Then moments before colliding with a sign in the median, went on to say, “I hope I don’t get a DUI.” Unfortunately, the irony of that statement is not lost on anyone, as several viewers called 911 to report the situation.

In her video, Beall can be seen narrating her experience, bemoaning her struggle to find a gas station, and then hitting the curb and getting a flat tire. Officers from the Lakeland Police Department were able to track her down after one of the officers downloaded the app onto his phone in order to locate her.

According to the arresting officers, Beall has bloodshot, glassy eyes, smelled strongly of alcohol, and spoke very slowly when they made contact with her. She refused to submit to a BAC, but failed the roadside sobriety test administered by officers. She was arrested and charged with drunk driving.

This is a classic, if rather unfortunate, example of how we can sometimes be our own worst enemy when it comes to social media. So as attorneys we would always advise our clients to not drink and drive. But in the event that you make a mistake and have one too many drinks before you hit the road, do yourself a favor and don’t broadcast it to the world.

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