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Text Messages May Be Used Against You in Court

Text Messages May Be Used Against You in Court

Texting is an extremely efficient means of communication, and many of us have become offhanded about it. We send little sound bites back and forth without giving most of them much thought. If the information is sensitive, you likely expect the recipient to delete the text. As with all things digital, however, there are records of your shared communications, and sometimes recipients save texts for their own records. The fact is that, if you are facing criminal charges and your texts are relevant, they may be admissible in court.

Texts are Not Always Admissible

Your texts can be used in court – but not without exception. They must meet certain legal criteria. The first hurdle for the prosecution is establishing the authenticity of the text. They will need to show that the text originated from your phone number and that you were its source. If the phone is your personal phone and is password protected, you may not have much of a defense in terms of establishing another source. A shared business phone, however, might be a different story.

The Issue of Privacy

If you send a person a text, it is that person’s text to share with the court if the occasion should arise. To acquire your phone and use its contents as evidence, however, the prosecution would need a warrant to search your phone just like they would need a warrant to search your home. This is because you have an expectation of privacy regarding both your home and your phone.

Objections

There are basically three categories of objections that your attorney can bring against your texts being entered as evidence in your case, and these include:

  • That the text did not originate from you (as noted above)

  • That the text is not relevant to your case

  • That the text is hearsay, which means that it is an out of court statement (in this case a text) that was made by someone who is not a party to the case

The fact is that even an otherwise benign text can help establish your whereabouts at a certain time and/or can corroborate other evidence in your case, which can make a seemingly irrelevant text relevant to the outcome of your trial. Determining whether a text is hearsay or not can be an extremely complicated endeavor. If the text is from you but about something you heard from a third party, it may be considered hearsay. If the text is about you but did not originate from you, the court may deem it hearsay.

If You Are Facing Criminal Charges, Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Lawyer Today

If you are facing criminal charges, your future is at stake, and you need professional legal counsel. Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving the Killeen, Texas, area – is committed to bringing your strongest defense and to aggressively advocating for the best possible resolution of your case. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.

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