Are business records allowed in court?

This post answers some frequently asked questions on business records in criminal law.

How are business records considered at a criminal trial?

Jurors may consider business material only when the Commonwealth proves all of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That the entry, writing, or record is in good faith
  • That it appeared in the regular course of business
  • It appeared before the beginning of the criminal proceeding in question
  • That it was the regular course of business to make such memorandum or record at the time of such act, transaction, occurrence, or event, or within a reasonable time thereafter.

If the Commonwealth does not prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then the jury cannot consider the content of the records in question in any way.

Does a witness need to testify about business records before they are allowed as evidence in court?

Sometimes. A trial judge may, as a condition to admissibility of business records, require the party offering the business records into evidence to call a witness who has personal knowledge of the facts stated in the record. Such a witness may be necessary to establish the foundation required to find that a document constitutes a business record.

IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE A LEGAL QUESTION OR HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.

CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.

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