Social media has become an increasingly popular method of communication in recent years. There is a wide range of apps and websites available for people to post, chat, and share information on. Some of the most popular and well-known social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. One other application available to smartphone owners is Periscope. This app, which was launched in 2015, allows its users to live stream whatever they are doing, whether it be cooking, riding a bike, or visiting another country.
Some users, however, have taken to live streaming some less than legal activities. One such individual was 23-year old Whitney Beall of Lakeland, Florida. In October of 2015, Beall had gone bar hopping and used Periscope to broadcast her night out. She then continued her live-stream as she got behind the wheel to drive home. "I am drunk on South Florida Avenue because I'm a drunk person,” the intoxicated Beall stated to the people watching her. She was sent "numerous messages on the app and personal text messages . . . asking her to stop driving before she killed someone or herself."
The Lakeland police department got several calls from concerned viewers who reported that Beall was on the roads and under the influence. According to the local news, the department "doesn't provide officers with access to Periscope as an authorized software tool." However, one police officer downloaded the app in order to view the live stream. The officers were able to locate Beall using local landmarks to figure out where she was. They pulled her over and conducted the standard field sobriety tests. Beall failed these and refused to take a breath test. She was placed under arrest and later charged with a DUI.
In February of 2016, Beall reached a plea deal with prosecutors. She avoided jail time and "received a standard sentence for a first-time DUI offense." She was put on probation for 12 months, had to go through alcohol evaluation and treatment, her vehicle was impounded for 10 days, her license was suspended for six months, and she was prohibited from having alcohol or going to bars. In addition to these penalties, Beall also faced consequences for live streaming her illegal activities.
By broadcasting herself on Periscope she was "publicly flaunting her disregard for the safety of the community," according to Lori Winstead, an assistant state attorney. Because of this, she received an enhanced sentence which requires Beall to complete 150 hours of community service. The sentence also included "10 days of weekend work release."
If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence, you want a skilled and experienced attorney on your side. Cobb County DUI Lawyer Richard Lawson has been working as a DUI defense attorney in Georgia for many years. Let his extensive knowledge and wisdom work for you. Contact his office today by calling (404) 816-4440.