If you are involved in a legal battle with someone with whom you were sharing text messages, it is important to understand that these text messages can be used as evidence in court. While text messages are not automatically admitted in court, there are some helpful strategies you can take to make sure the evidence you need is properly preserved.
The following are some helpful reminders about when text messages can be used as evidence in court as well as the comparable role that social media posts play.
When are Text Messages Admissible?
Three primary factors determine when text messages are permitted to be used as evidence in court:
- Not hearsay. Hearsay is any content offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. With few exceptions, only text messages that do not meet this definition of hearsay are admissible in court.
- The text messages must have relevancy or either prove or disprove a legal issue of fact that is central to the case.
- Courts will often only admit evidence that is authentic or where the date, time, sender, and recipient of the message can be verified.
To increase the odds that text messages are admissible, it is often best to print out screenshots of your text messages.
Social Media Posts Used as Evidence
Similar to text messages, data transmitted on social media platforms is sometimes used as evidence. Other times, applications like Facebook messenger blur the line between text messages and social media messages. A growing number of courts have even expressed a willingness to find social media evidence admissible.
Consequently, it is best to be cautious about what you share on social media. It is also a good idea to follow some helpful safety strategies, which include:
- Not responding to messages from strangers or anyone whom you do not know in real life.
- Maintaining notes about all digital communication you have with suspicious parties online.
- Staying cautious about messages that are sent on social media. Phishing is a common online hacking technique by which a hacker sends a program that steals data in the form of an application or link. If you do not entirely trust a source or an application, you should avoid downloading it.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) to keep online activities protected from outside observers, who might attempt to spy on communication in the hopes of obtaining incriminating data.
When deciding whether social media is admissible as evidence, courts will also require this data to meet the three previously stated admission requirements.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney Today
Given the potential role that text messages and social media can play in a court case, it is wise to remember that anything you send through text messaging or social media might end up being used against you. As a result, it is almost always a good idea to think twice about messages before sending them.
If you need help navigating these complex evidence laws, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. Contact Cohen & Jaffe LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.