R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Police use social media app to conduct DUI traffic stop

Texas residents might have heard about a social media app called Periscope that allows people to live-stream video from their smartphones and broadcast the video all over the world. On Oct. 10, a woman in Florida was charged for DUI as a result of a live stream that she broadcast on Periscope.

The 23-year-old woman used the live streaming app while she was driving a 2015 Toyota Corolla in Lakeland. According to Periscope users who viewed her stream, the woman admitted that she was driving while intoxicated and also said that her left front tire was flat and she didn't know where she was. People who were watching the woman's video sent several instant messages asking her to stop driving, and police received multiple 911 calls about the woman's live stream.

Police officers were able to locate the woman after downloading the Periscope app and opening an account. After pinpointing her location, police officers conducted a traffic stop. The woman allegedly struck a curb before she was pulled over and then failed a field sobriety test. Police say she smelled like alcohol and refused to take a breath test.

When an accused drunk driver does not submit to a breath test, the driver typically loses their driver's license for a period of time. However, refusal to take a breath test does not necessarily imply that a person is drunk, and a DUI defendant's attorney may be able to have the charges reduced even after refusing a breath test. Legal counsel can often also obtain a favorable result if this is the defendant's first offense.

Source: USA Today, "Woman live-streams herself while 'drunk' driving," Garin Flowers, Oct. 13, 2015

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