While many people post images and videos to social media of partying or having a good time, posting images of drinking or doing drugs can be used as evidence in a criminal case. Videos of drinking shots, smoking weed, or videos showing the individual appears impaired can be admissible in court.
If an individual is later arrested on suspicion of impaired driving, a prosecutor could use those social media posts to not only show that the individual was consuming drugs or alcohol, it may also paint a poor picture to the jury that the person was not acting responsibly.
Social media posts can come back to haunt those involved in drunk driving accidents. A mother in Missouri was posting pictures of wine and her daughter at an event shortly before getting into a drunk driving crash that killed her daughter.
Fatal DWI Accident with Child Passenger
Samantha Jones, 32, of Smithville, Missouri, was at an event with her five-year-old daughter Macklyn Lucas in Camden Point. Jones was taking pictures with her daughter along with photos of glasses of wine and posting them on Instagram along with the hashtag #momsneeddrinks. Less than an hour later, Jones was involved in a car accident.
According to news reports, Jones lost control of the vehicle, crashing into a telephone pole. When police arrived, Jones reportedly said, “My baby is my world. I don't care if I go to jail, I just want my baby to be OK.”
Macklyn died three days later at the hospital from head trauma. Jones was charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) and pleaded guilty.
According to prosecutors, Jones admitted to drinking as much as two bottles of wine. When her blood was tested about two hours after the crash, her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.186, more than double the legal limit.
Fatal DWI Accident Charges in Missouri
Under Missouri Revised Statute § 577.010, “a person commits the offense of driving while intoxicated if he or she operates a vehicle while in an intoxicated condition.”
A first time DWI is generally a Class B misdemeanor. However, a DWI can be a class C felony if “while driving while intoxicated, the defendant acts with criminal negligence to cause the death of another person.”
A DWI can be a class B felony if “while driving while intoxicated, the defendant acts with criminal negligence to cause the death of any person not a passenger in the vehicle operated by the defendant.”
The penalties for a class C felony include 3 to10 years in prison. The penalties for a class B felony include 5 to 15 years in prison.
In the above case, a judge sentenced Jones to nine years in prison.