Don’t Be Like Matthew Cordle: Be Careful About Your Social Media Posts If Accused of a Crime

Social Media can lead to trouble.The dramatic story of Matthew Cordle in Ohio has been making some headlines across the country lately, including in Las Vegas. Cordle had been accused of killing another driver while driving drunk. He made a three and a half minute-long video and posted it to YouTube confessing to the act. He said in the video that he was driving drunk, that he drove drunk regularly, and that he regretted the death he caused.

The video was heartfelt. Cordle said he did it not to get a more lenient sentence, but to alleviate himself of the personal guilt he felt over the act. That’s a good thing, because it did not help his case. In fact, according to many legal analysts, it hurt his case. Cordle was sentenced to six and a half years in prison, a tough sentence for the jurisdiction for the charge.  In Nevada, Mr. Cordle would have been looking at a mandatory prison sentence range of 2 to 20 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Few cases are as dramatic as Cordle’s. But his case does highlight the significant dangers of posting anything related to a criminal offense on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any form of social media. There’s a simple rule when it comes to posting anything on the internet relating to a criminal charge: Don’t do it. Ever.

If you are charged with a DUI in Las Vegas, your attorney can challenge the stop, the DUI test results and the arrest, eliminating evidence that may lead to a conviction. But it may all be for naught if the prosecutor shows up with a Tweet you posted the day after the arrest saying “Got busted for DUI. Guess I shouldn’t have had that sixth Jager shot at the Palms before driving off #YOLO.”

If you’ve been arrested, simply stay silent. Do not even try to defend yourself. There’s a good chance you might say something that hurts you by mistake. If your friend posts on your Facebook wall “Heard you got arrested for drunk driving in Vegas,” you may think you are helping things out by commenting “That breathalyzer was busted. I only had three drinks, no way I was a .08.” But all you’ve done is admit that you were drinking before you got behind the wheel.

Let your defense lawyer handle your defense, and let him or her say anything that needs to be said. It’s important to remember you have a right to remain silent. That extends to everything, including social media. There is no reason to post anything after you’ve been arrested. Do not do it.

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