Texting has become so commonplace that few of us give it much thought. We are constantly dashing off texts without even considering whether the messages therein could lead to negative consequences. Texting is a great way to stay in touch and to quickly dash off information to one another, but texts are also electronic messages that can easily be preserved – and can come back to haunt you in the form of evidence related to alleged white-collar crimes.
Text Messaging: It Is Complicated
Before you give the topic much thought, it is easy to send off a barrage of text messages to their intended recipient. While you might think that the reader will delete any sensitive information contained therein, it is a lot more complicated than that. Texts are a means of electronic communication, which means that there is no way to guarantee that the message will not live on in infamy. In fact, all of the following could apply:
- Some recipients save their texts as a matter of course.
- Some recipients make hard copies of texts that they think might prove useful as evidence in the future.
- There is no way to eradicate the fact of the text itself – the electronic trail is permanent.
- Texts are exceedingly easy to share, which means that they can be spread far and wide without your knowledge.
In other words, if you have texts out there that contain incriminating evidence, there is a possibility that they could be used against you in court.
Are Texts Admissible in Court?
The fact of incriminating texts does not – in and of itself – mean that they are admissible in court. While texts are generally admissible, there are certain exceptions. If the texts in question do not meet specific criteria, they will not be allowed as evidence against you in your white-collar case. The applicable criteria include:
- Authenticity – The prosecution must reasonably establish that the incriminating texts originated from your phone and were sent by you. Without this authentication, the texts will not be admissible in court. If your dedicated criminal defense attorney can reasonably establish that the message was not sent from your phone, that it was not written by you, or that it was modified in some way, his or her objection to the texts’ evidentiary status is likely to hold.
- Privacy – if the text was obtained from your phone directly, there is the important issue of your privacy. Just as the police need a warrant to search your home or office, so too do they need a warrant – and attendant probable cause – to search your phone.
It Is Time to Consult with an Experienced Attorney
Brett Pritchard, at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a dedicated criminal defense attorney who has the experience necessary to resolve your case as favorably as possible. If you are facing charges related to a white-collar crime, Mr. Pritchard is here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.