Text messages often create a detailed written record of interactions, conversations, and incidents that occur between two people. If properly preserved, prosecutors may be able to use text messages as evidence in criminal prosecutions, depending on the circumstances.
Like all other forms of evidence, text messages are not automatically admissible in court. They must meet the standards of the rules of evidence. One of the requirements for evidence to be admissible in court is that there be proof that it is authentic. To be authentic, the person who is introducing the evidence to the court must be able to show that it is what he or she is claiming it to be. Authenticity is a common challenge to the admissibility of evidence in court.
Generally, it is not enough for a witness for the state to testify that she knew that she received a text message from the defendant because it came from the defendant’s cell phone number. Since individuals easily can use phones that belong to others, merely receiving a message from a specific number is not enough to authenticate as being sent by the owner of the phone. Instead, individuals must be able to point to other direct or circumstantial evidence that proves the message came from a specific person.
Texas criminal courts consistently have used a liberal standard in determining whether a text message is authentic, or that it is what the witness identifies it to be. For instance, a witness might testify not only that he received a text message from the defendant’s number, but that the defendant identified himself in the message and called him in the middle of the text messages to tell him something specific. This evidence points to the conclusion that the defendant sent the text message to the witness.
An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against any criminal charges. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case and explore your options. We then can help you make the decisions that are mostly like to be beneficial to you, based on your situation. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 399-2311 today and see how we can help.