Can cell phone records be accessed for civil matters? 39 Answers as of October 18, 2012

When can text message content be pulled from phone records? Only in criminal cases or in civil situations such as divorces also?

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Lombardi Law Firm
Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
Oh yes! And they are and we do get them.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 10/18/2012
Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP
Mosley, Engelman & Jones, LLP | Britany M. Engelman
Cell phone records can be accessed in civil cases by mean of subpoena.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/18/2012
Kingloff & Travis | William K Travis
Cell phone records are accessible but perhaps not readily available. If you need them in a civil case be prepared to pay the company for them and make certain that a proper subpoena is prepared and preserved.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 10/18/2012
Victor Varga | Victor Varga
Any situation as long as it is relevant case.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 10/18/2012
Havens Law, LLC
Havens Law, LLC | William Havens Nebeker
Cell phone records can be subpoenaed in civil, criminal and domestic matters. However, all information sought in discovery must be relevant to the issues before the court. If the phone records are not relevant to material issues in the case, they will not be admitted into evidence.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 10/18/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    As a general proposition, it is the relevance of the phone records to the specific case that controls whether they can be subpoenaed, not the type of case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/17/2012
    Timiney Law Firm
    Timiney Law Firm | Leigh Anne Timiney
    There are a couple of issues involved in attempting to access cell phone or text records. First, most cell phone providers will require a subpoena from a court of proper jurisdiction, meaning you must have a current legal case filed with an appropriate court so that a subpoena can be issued by the court to obtain the records. It has been my experience that you have a very short window when trying to retrieve actual text messages. Most cell phone carriers only have the ability to go back about 10 days to retrieve the actual content of the text message. There are just so many text messages going back and forth that the cell phone carriers do not have the ability to store and access text messages for an indefinite period of time. With respect to call logs or text logs, meaning showing calls or texts from and to certain cell phone numbers at certain dates and times are generally available with a subpoena.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    John Russo | John Russo
    Yes, civil matters are subject to the rules of evidence as well as discovery, most times in divorce matters we will just subpoena phone records. With that being said, It has been my understanding that the phone carriers do not maintain text messages in their log files, all they keep are incoming and outgoing phone numbers.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Law Offices of Mark West
    Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
    To the extent the text messages are relevant, you should be able to obtain them. However, it may be difficult as I believe some providers do not "save" the messages. Discovery of "electronic evidence" is quite the hot topic these days.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Absolutely yes!! The issue is: are the records admissible, or will they likely lead to admissible evidence? If the answer is yes, then the records can be accessed. If not, then "NO."
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    In discovery you can request the other party to turn over the cell phone records.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    Records can be subpoenaed for court.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Rebecca Rainwater
    Rebecca Rainwater | Rebecca Rainwater
    Phone records, text messages and voice mail message can all be brought in under the evidence code and the proper foundation is laid in any case if the evidence is deemed relevant. Facebook content is also admissible if it meets the evidence code. If a person wants to enter a text message into evidence it is fairly easy. If you have a smartphone you can simply take a picture of the message. The person's name who sent the message or phone number is identifiable at the top. The message is self authenticating.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Steven Harrell, Attorney at Law | Waymon Steven Harrell
    A subpoena could be served on the cell phone provider if a party required access to such information.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    If it is on your cell phone, you can photocopy the text message from your own cell phone, and lay a foundation for its introduction at the hearing. In order to seek text messages from the phone company, you would need to prepare a Notice to Consumer and a Subpoena, and properly serve those on the party whose text message you are seeking to obtain, and properly serve those on the phone company with appropriate proof that you served them on the party whose text message you are seeking to obtain. If you are seeking to have those records produced for your inspection, the Supboena would need to be a Deposition Subpoena for Business Records, and you would need to designate a Deposition Officer who is legally authorized to serve in that capacity to receive the produced documents. The forms, the timing of their service, their proof of service and the designation of the Deposition Officer are highly technical matters, so you would best retain the services of an experienced Family Law Attorney to seek and obtain those records.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Providers generally respond to subpoenas in civil and criminal cases.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Musick & Cord | Jessi E. Musick
    All information sought in discovery must be relevant to the issues before the court. Phone records may be relevant or they may not. Text may also be relevant, or not.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc.
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc. | Mark Brown
    Text messages can be admissible evidence in civil and domestic cases. There are technological issues re accessing the messages on another person's phone; and there are sometimes issues with the Rules of Evidence if the party offering texts does nor properly demonstrate that the offered text copy accurately depicts the entire message string. Usually, the party offers "screen shots" of the message string - but text messages can be edited and manipulated.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    If the record can be authenticated, it is admissible in any court proceeding. I have seen text messages used many, many times.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    They can with a legal subpoena.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You can issue a subpoena in a civil case to get records.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Attorney at Law | Michael P. Vollandt
    Yes you can use a SDT of the records if you do it right.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/16/2012
    Law Offices of Pamela R. Lawson | Pamela R. Lawson, Esq.
    Generally cell phone records can be obtained through subpoena to the carrier. Records can also be obtained through a Request to Produce in a civil divorce case. There are defenses to a request for records that an attorney can pose through the making of a motion or motions.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/16/2012
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