Text Messages Being Used in Court

June 14, 2023

Often, a picture or a text is worth a thousand words. That maxim holds true in court and can be used as evidence. However, there are certain conditions that need to be met first.

Conditions for Using Text Messages in Court

The conditions for using text messages in court adhere to New Jersey’s rules of evidence, as follows:

Relevance: The text message must be directly related to the issue before the court.

Authenticity: Text messages must be authentic, meaning you must show that the party sent and received the messages.

Legal Acquisition: The text messages must have been legally obtained. So, you need to make sure there are no violations of any privacy laws or other laws.

Hearsay: Text messages may not be admissible as evidence if it is a prohibited statement made outside of court as proof of their integrity. That out-of-court statement is called “hearsay,” which has various exceptions. The complexity of determining whether the hearsay rule applies requires the advice of a lawyer at Rigden Lieberman, LLC.

Privacy and Consent: Privacy and consent may also affect whether the court permits the messages to be used as evidence, particularly in family law cases. If the risk of unjust prejudice to the party outweighs its value, a judge can keep it out of court.

Best evidence rule: Where possible, actual evidence should be provided. So, it’s better to offer real digital text messages rather than a photograph of the screen.

There Are Other Digital Documents That Can Be Used:

A wide range of digital documents can be used as evidence, as follows:

  • Emails
  • Text and instant messages
  • Social media posts and direct messages
  • Digital photos and videos
  • Online transaction records
  • Digital contracts and agreements
  • Computer and smartphone logs
  • Files stored on cloud services
  • GPS and other location data

Remember that admissibility requirements for digital evidence include relevancy, authenticity, and legal acquisition.

Rigden Lieberman, LLC is here to help. Our lawyers understand the complex dynamics of digital evidence in today’s legal landscape.

By Alexandra “Lexie” Rigden

Alexandra “Lexie” Rigden understands that family law clients face unique challenges mentally, emotionally, and financially. Rigden Lieberman, LLC handles all stages of family law litigation, including trials, emergency court motions, as well as pre and post judgment applications. Every case is different, and Lexie Rigden & Ronald G. Lieberman will work to achieve the best outcome for clients whether it involves litigation or settlement. Request a consultation to discuss your case further.

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Anonymous "J"
Do yourself a favor and hire Alexandra
Alexandra came as a recommendation from an attorney friend and she was spot on. Alexandra kept me informed through every step of the process during such a difficult time in my life. She explained things in detail and always had my best interest in mind, even when I may not have realized it. As my title says, do yourself a favor and hire Alexandra.
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