This article is meant for the professionals, practitioners, and all those who have been called for the trial against false allegations, or those who are required to document their emails, conversations, text messages as reference or evidence in a court trial.
A detailed account about can text messages be used in criminal court, how to and what to document that would be acceptable in the court (if needed) is provided in the succeeding paragraphs:
Can text messages be used in criminal court
You might have been divorced recently or you may be planning to get one. If the specific ordeal is not as bad as usually divorce cases tend to show, then you may encounter frequent messages from your ex via calls, emails, or text messages. You might have thought these interactions will slow down over time, but they become relentless and you need them to stop.
Maybe the reason behind those messages is to threaten, to remain aware if you are doing fair with the kids, for the financial support, or maybe about the divorce process itself. Whatever the reason behind this, you just want to discontinue the contact by any means.
To this extent, whether you are having the abuse or just the cyber-stalking, you must inform the court about the kind of conversation your former spouse has been engaging in with you. To keep the record straight, you may have been told to document things that the court will accept.
To get an idea as to how you will document all the messages, emails, and other conversations, you must read the post in full.
Your cell-phone evidence
Legally, any data that your cell phone holds can be accepted as potential ‘digital evidence’ or ‘electronic discovery’. Chat applications, text messages, email conversations, and social media messages are now accepted in the criminal court, family court, and at any other jurisdiction as a form of potential evidence and beyond.
They are accepted in most conflict cases against divorce, criminal, cyber-stalking, and harassment charges.
What should be documented?
If you are looking for a one-word answer for that, then ‘Everything’. This means that every comment one has posted, every message one has sent, and your responses over those conversations. The main idea is to ascertain the complete story behind the allegation.
Whatever the issues are, you must inform your lawyer about everything that may come in handy in a critical situation during your case trials.
How to provide authentic and relevant proof
Even though text messages and email conversations and even phone logs can be provided as evidence, they don’t get directly accepted by the court. For this purpose, you or your attorney must provide authentic and relevant proof with regards to your case.
Relevance: In the legal terms, the relevancy of the message can be proved according to the facts and the context of the case. The above example lies under the relevancy of the messages.
Authenticity: In order to prove the authenticity, you need to provide evidence that the messages you received came from your spouse, and that you haven’t edited or deleted the messages from the conversation you have documented.
Other than this, you must also record:
- The time and date at which the message was sent and received by you
- Contact information of the person who is alleged for the harassment or threat
- Email address in case of an email conversation, or phone number in case of recorded calls
How to save and provide digital evidence
If you have recorded 10 missed calls later in the day, you must take a screenshot. Have you got threatening messages? You should take screenshots. These screenshots will be saved in your phone’s gallery folder. If you get plenty of messages and taking a screenshot isn’t helping you enough, then try the screen recording option for the same purpose.
Protect yourself from any false claim that may cause harm to you. In any case, if you think that your email conversation or your phone will help you, then document every piece of evidence – the better the evidence, is the better your case will be.
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