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Can Texts Be Used as Evidence in Court?

To present a particular item as evidence in court, the prosecution must follow specific rules, which require that the item be authentic and relevant to the case. These rules were established long before cell phones or text messaging, and current standards have yet to comprehensively define if/when texts will be considered as admissible evidence in court. However, courts have interpreted the rules so they are applicable in cases where text messages are being submitted as evidence. If the prosecutor wants to introduce text messages in a case, they must overcome a couple of hurdles.

Proving the Authenticity of Texts

First, the prosecution must prove that the texts are authentic. That means they must prove the messages were sent from the defendant to another party. However, proving authenticity can be difficult, as other people could have accessed and used the defendant’s phone. Therefore, the defendant might not have sent or authorized the texts even though they came from their phone number.

Other forms of evidence would also need to be presented to show that the texts were actually from the defendant. This could include an eyewitness testifying that they saw the defendant using the phone at the time the texts were sent, phone records showing that the messages were transmitted from cell towers near the defendant’s location, or content using turns of phrases or icons consistent with the defendant’s normal communication patterns.

Proving Relevancy of the Texts

After prosecution demonstrates that the texts are authentic, they must then show that the messages are relevant. That means the content needs to be connected to the facts of the case.

If the texts are demonstrated to be authentic and relevant, and do not violate some other rule of evidence, such as hearsay – a statement made out of court related to the truth of the matter at hand – they may be admissible.

Choose David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. to Defend You

The outcome of your case depends largely on the evidence presented by prosecution. If you are facing charges, contact David L. Owen, Jr., P.C. Backed by over 30 years of experience, we have successfully handled a variety of criminal cases, including drug crimes, theft crimes, and federal crimes. We will thoroughly examine your situation and challenge the evidence prosecution tries to introduce in court.

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