Think Before You Text: Text Messages Can Be Evidence in Domestic Violence Cases

Posted by Joseph Lento | May 26, 2023 | 0 Comments

The ubiquity of texting in everyone's lives raises the stakes for Pennsylvania residents involved in domestic violence cases. Whether someone is defending against an accusation of domestic violence or the victim of domestic violence, what the parties say in their text messages can have significant implications in their domestic violence legal proceedings.

Text Messages Can Be Used as Evidence in Domestic Violence Cases

In Pennsylvania, domestic violence is a broad term that includes acts of violence or abuse between members of a household, an extended family, or current or former spouses or sexual partners. Stalking, harassment, direct threats, and other behavior that cause the victim to fear harm can all constitute domestic violence. Under Pennsylvania law, electronic communications such as text messages can be used as evidence in these cases.

Text Messages May Constitute Domestic Violence or Show a Pattern of Harassment and Abuse

A text message that contains a direct threat to a victim may constitute domestic violence under Pennsylvania law, as can a series of texts that demonstrate a pattern of harassment or abuse. Texts may also provide information regarding the nature of the relationship between the parties and context for how they normally tend to communicate with one another, which can help a court or jury decide the merits of a case.

In addition, Pennsylvania domestic violence victims are often protected by Protection from Abuse orders (PFAs), which prevent communication between the victim of domestic violence and the perpetrator. Contacting the victim via text message can violate a PFA and result in serious consequences for the person sending the texts.

Text Messages Can Be Used to Defend Against Domestic Violence Allegations

People who have been accused of domestic violence can use text messages to defend against the allegations against them. A defendant may want to introduce texts they've sent to their accuser or texts they've received from their accuser.

For example, if a text message that forms the basis of a domestic violence action has been taken out of context, the defendant might introduce other texts that show the totality of the situation or conversation to disprove baseless or erroneous allegations.

A domestic violence defendant may also want to introduce into evidence text messages that show that they were acting in self-defense.

The LLF Law Firm is a Valuable Advocate in Domestic Violence Actions

The Family Law Team at the LLF Law Firm has many years of experience representing clients in domestic violence cases and family law matters throughout Pennsylvania. They can help anyone involved in a domestic violence case show the real import of the text messages they've sent or received, and work with them to craft an effective legal strategy to ensure their rights are protected. Contact the LLF Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or submit a confidential online consultation form.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm has unparalleled experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Our Family Law Team will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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