Can I use text messages against someone in small claims court?

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Can I use text messages against someone in small claims court?

I was selling a car and the person gave me all but $100. They asked if they could drive the car to get the money and plates they had at home; they said that they would be back within 20 minutes. I was iffy but figured since I kept the title, the money that they did, and the other set of keys, that it would be fine. Well I have learned my lesson on being so kind-hearted. It has been a little over 2 weeks now and the person hit someone’s car and now it is impounded on base due to them being military and getting in trouble on base. Can I use texts as proof against him in court?

Asked on August 10, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes you can use text messages from the person who bought the car from you that he or she sent you as "evidence" against that person in small claims court provided you have saved them on your cell phone or managed to have them printed out in written form.

The issue for small claims court is establishing a foundation that the texts that you saved were actually from the person that bought your car but did not pay you the full amount. Meaning, the buyer of the car could deny that he or she sent those messages to you. He or she could claim that the messages were from someone else using his or her cell phone after you establish that the messages were from the buyer's cell phone.

In small claims court, the strict rules of evidence in normal trials are relaxed since the litigants in this forum have no attorneys representing them in court.

Good luck.

 


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