Can Text Messages Be Used Against You In Criminal Court?

- Lotze Mosley

Earlier this year we discussed how social media is fortifying prosecutor’s cases, as more and more people continue to post potentially incriminating evidence online for the world to see.

At Lotze Mosley, LLP, our criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. work tirelessly to ensure our clients do not fall victim to their online personas inside the courtroom, but social media isn’t the only avenue we must overcome in defending our clients. Text messages can be just ass incriminating as our clients’ social newsfeeds if they are not properly excluded as evidence by our experienced criminal legal team.

How Can Lotze Mosley Help Exclude Text Messages In My Criminal Case?

Any form of potential evidence proposed by the prosecution is not automatically admissible in court — including text messages. With experienced legal representation, we will develop one of three measures that will allow our criminal defense lawyers to exclude text messages from being used against you in your case.

Those measures can include:

  • Relevance
  • Hearsay
  • Lack of authenticity

How Can Text Messages Be Excluded During The Relevance Examination?

Determining a text message’s relevance means that it is of consequence to the determination or outcome of the trial. Prosecutors may seek to use text messages to establish the whereabouts of the defendant or as support for additional evidence in the case.

How Can Text Messages Be Excluded From Evidence As Hearsay?

Generally, hearsay is not allowed into evidence in any criminal case. Determining whether text messages fall under the category of hearsay is a little more complex than the spoken word.

Hearsay is defined as an out of court statement that has been made by a person who is not a party in the criminal trial. That means, if text messages exist between you and someone who is not involved in the case, they typically will not be admitted as evidence.

However, text messages sent directly to the victim of a crime could be admitted as direct evidence without the help of an accomplished criminal defense attorney.

How Can Text Messages Be Excluded From Evidence Due To Authentication Issues?

The court will want to know whether the text messages the prosecution is trying to admit into evidence are authentic.

This includes:

  • Are the text messages sent and obtained by the verified contact information of parties in the case?
  • Have the text messages been deleted or altered?
  • Were the text messages sent on the date and during the time in question?

All Access To Cellular Devices & Phone Records Must Be Obtained Lawfully To Be Admissible In Court

A large part of determining whether any text messages are admissible in court is that law enforcement officials legally obtained access to the cellular device or phone records during the course of a lawful investigation.

If your rights have been violated in any capacity during your criminal investigation, including illegal searches or seizures, contact our dedicated criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. at Lotze Mosley, LLP today by calling (202) 393-0535 to learn more about your legal options and how we can help attempt to exclude evidence from your case.