Are Text Messages Fair Game In Court?

Computer forensic evidence

Why are computer forensics services increasingly in demand? With smartphones, tablets, and hybrid computers literally everywhere, more courts are calling in computer forensics specialists to shed light on criminal and domestic cases. When are you most likely to see texts or Facebook messages in court?

Can Courts Legally Use Mobile Phone Evidence?

Courts still do not agree about the use of admissible digital evidence. What is admissible digital evidence? “The courts are all over the place. They can’t even agree if there’s a reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages that would trigger Fourth Amendment protection,” Lawyer Hanni Fakhoury tells The New York Times. Although the specifics are unclear, Facebook messages, text messages, Google documents, Google searches, and smartphone images may be fair evidence in court. Officials are currently trying to determine whether smart phones are more akin to a wallet — or to a small computer.

That Angry Facebook Status May Come Back to Haunt You

Computer forensics services and digital forensic examiners admit text messages and Facebook statuses may come back to haunt you in surprising ways. Divorce and family lawyers note a shocking 80% increase in the use of texts and Facebook messages.

In one surprising case, for example, one man tried to hide his drinking problem in a child custody battle. The man argued he had not drank in over year. When his soon-to-be ex-wife presented a text from him asking her to pick him up beer, he was speechless. “He sat there and stared at the text message for about 2.5 minutes. He had no answer,” NPR says of the case.

Is it fair to use smartphone pictures and text messages in court? Authorities and lawyers are still trying to answer that question. In the meantime, lawyers advise against sending any messages you may regret. Find more.

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