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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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I have several telephone recordings with DMV officials that

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I have several telephone recordings with DMV officials that all basically are recordings where I called the DMV and the MVDB (Motor Vehicle Dealer Board) and ran the scenario of my case by them. In all three instances I was told that my matter should be a civil matter once the previous owner signs the title. My question is since using phone recordings is legal in Virginia as long as one party knows of the recording should i just use the recordings and not actually subpoena those officials that I may have to deal with in the car business to drive 100 miles to tell the court something that is implicit or just testify to the conversations myself and use the tapes?
Hi,

I'm a little confused. The tapes are just of different people stating their understanding of the law? Do the conversations include any facts regarding what happened between you and the defendant?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes they all contain the exact scenario! I recorded the entire scenario being laid out on every call! EVERY official emphatically sided with me!

A layperson's understanding of the law isn't relevant. The judge knows the law. A party can have a lawyer represent him to argue the law, or he can argue the law himself, but he cannot bring in witnesses to testify as to their understanding of the law - especially when that understanding wouldn't be binding on the judge. If the conversations on the tapes aren't relevant, they can't be used. You wouldn't be allowed to testify as to the conversations, because they're hearsay, but also because they don't have any bearing on the outcome of the case.

If the people in the conversations were saying things like "here is a record that this vehicle was registered," they can come in, verify that the records are correct, are kept in the regular course of business, and you can introduce them into evidence. In that case, you would need the witness (and whatever documents they were verifying). The witnesses in a court case are testifying as to the facts of what happened. Anyone who has relevant facts can come in and testify as to what they know, but a statement made out of court cannot be admitted without that person, in court, to be cross-examined.

The tapes could be used, if someone testified as to a statement other than what was said on the tape, to prove that the person was lying.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok what if Im trying to prove not only what the LAW is but also what the DMV rules are for dealers. Also you seem very certain of what the law is, pretty much read the entire criminal complaint as it was written out(most of which i don't disagree with) to these officials as it was explained in lower general district court in the probable cause hearing. Yet the judge in that hearing with no EXTRA evidence (because there is none to offer) certified that there was probable cause to certify the case to Circuit court! I feel I don't want to take a chance with a trial and show how ludicrous this is in the civil trial beforehand by not taking any chances. Can i ask the judge for him to give a finding of fact in lieu of me offering the tapes to be heard?

If DMV policy is relevant to the case, you can bring in someone to the DMV to testify as to what that policy is. The judge wouldn't accept the tapes as evidence, though, if the person lives or works in the Commonwealth and could have been subpoenaed to appear.

The judge makes findings of fact after listening to the evidence. He'll only make findings of fact in advance if there is a stipulation, usually. This is because he can't weigh the evidence prior to a trial. A trial is the only procedure for determining who is telling the truth.
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