Text Messages Often Key Evidence in Family Violence Cases
Now that texting has become one of the primary forms of communication in our society it’s not surprising that a persons text often becomes one of the most important pieces of evidence in a criminal case. This is especially true in cases involving accusations of assaults between couples who are romantically involved. When faced with defending family violence cases or protective order hearings a criminal defense attorney should obtain copies of all text messages between the client and the accuser. The text can often prove to be impeachment evidence against an accuser which can destroy the credibility of the witness and reveal a motivation of revenge.
Once the criminal attorney reviews the text messages he must take steps to preserve the evidence. Phone service providers do not keep text messages for long so the Attorney should send a subpoena as soon as possible in order to secure the text. The client may also try an obtain the text messages from the service provider but it is best to also send a subpoena. All cell phone service providers have a division which deals with subpoena request for cell phone and text records.
Of course the text can also be preserved by photographing them from the actual phone if they still exist. If a witness is confronted with the text on the witness stand they will usually agree that the text are authentic. A witness impeached by a phone text on the witness will often lose all credibility with a jury.
Of course phone text are a double edged sword. Incriminating text often become the center piece of the case for the prosecutor. The criminal defense attorney must discover the good and bad text as soon as possible so that he or she knows how to proceed in a criminal case.