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Your phone call in custody could become state evidence

Posted on January 13, 2022

The average person doesn’t really understand their rights when they are under arrest. For example, people often forget that they have the right to remain silent but magically remember that they have the theoretical right to make a phone call.

Some people use that phone call to get a family member to come bail them out. Others reach out to an attorney. Unless your call is to a lawyer, it is important that you understand that almost anything you say over the phone while in state custody could end up being part of the case against you.

The state records prison and jail phones

You should always operate under the assumption that anything you say while in state custody has witnesses. Other inmates might testify about a conversation they have with you or allegedly overheard, possibly in the hopes of reducing their own sentence.

Anything that might sound like an admission of the crime or a threat against someone else could actually play a role in your prosecution or sentencing. When you have a moment of privacy on the phone with someone you know and trust, you might want to talk about your fears, your concerns or your version of what happened. Those conversations are best had in person after you are no longer in state custody. 

You generally do not have the right to any privacy at all while in state custody with the exception of when you communicate with your lawyer to strategize for your defense, as attorney-client communications have protection. Learning about what can affect the state’s case against you can help you better plan your criminal defense strategy.