Can I be arrested for a text message that could indicate a drug deal?

I was questioned by an officer about a text message that was from me and found on a phone that was confinscated. The message could be interpreted in many ways, including being a drug deal. Can I be arrested on that even if I have never been caught with any drugs?

Asked on July 13, 2012 under Criminal Law, Missouri

Answers:

Jeffrey Kaplan / Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Kaplan

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Generally, sending a text message about a crime isn't itself a crime (if the message is threatening or harassing, the message itself may be a crime). A text message that a drug deal occured isn't sufficient evidence to show that it actually occured. 

In the scenario you present, you can't be arrested for the text message. However, the message may be the basis for a criminal investigation. If detectives have or discover evidence that the drug deal actually occured, such as a videotape of the deal, the drugs themselves, a witness statement, etc., then your text message can be used as evidence against you or any other potential defendants. 

As Mr. Norris stated above, I wouldn't spend time worrying about this unless you are charged. In the event that you are, make sure you are effectively represented by an attorney.

All the best.

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Any evidence, circumstial or not can be used in criminal trials.  So, a text along could be used whether or not its ambiguous.  The thing you have to ask is if that one text message standing alone proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed a crime.  Probably not.  That said, I would lay low for a while and be more careful what your texting and who you're sending it to.  I wouldn't worry about anything too much until you are charged with a crime--and in this case I don't think they have enough on you to do that--based on what you said.

Best of luck.


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