Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms, boasting some 319 million active users as of 2016. Users have 140 characters to convey their thoughts and can also add pictures and video to their tweets. There are many, many different kinds of Twitter users from regular people to celebrities to brands to government agencies. Last year New Mexico's Department of Transportation (DOT) began a rather unique program in order to monitor DWI cases, part of which involved using Twitter. In April of 2016, the Albuquerque Journal reported that the DOT was planning on using “a Twitter account to post updates daily on cases as they move through the court system.”
This monitoring program is a “part of Gov. Susana Martinez's anti-DWI plan announced in December to hire civilians to try to keep track of how courts handle such cases.” Martinez stated that she wants to "hold the justice system accountable for failing to punish DWI criminals." She also stated that “she hopes the plan will target generous plea bargains, lenient sentencing, absent police officers and low bond amounts that let suspected offenders out on the streets to possibly continue drinking and driving.” In addition, she wants it to help “identify where the judicial process can be strengthened.”
The program will have “monitors send daily updates to the DOT after court hearings of some DWI defendants” in the counties in the state that have the greatest number of DWI cases. The Journal stated that the “tweets will include already public information, such as a person's name, the date of the suspected offense and what happened in the case proceeding that day.” The monitors will follow a case “to its conclusion and possibly beyond to probation and parole.” The department stated that they were not sure if they were going to include a mug shot with the tweets as well.
The program is funded by a federal grant and the state partnered with MADD in order to implement it. Four court monitors are “expected to keep track of about 200 cases a year.” The cases are to be chosen at random so that “no particular judge, prosecutor, police officer or defendant will be unfairly targeted.”
The program began to go into effect in November 2016. The twitter handle, @NMDWIWatch is used to tweet information about the drunk driving cases that monitors observe. According to KRQE, “the court monitors are tracking 345 pending cases in six counties around the state.” According to the twitter account's home page, the monitors have tweeted 341 times so far. The account posts several tweets about a case that state the case number, whether the defendant was found guilty if they have any prior convictions, the sentence, and who the judge, defense attorney, and prosecutor were.
If you find yourself charged with a DUI in Georgia, please do not hesitate to contact Georgia DUI Attorney Richard Lawson today to discuss your case.