Big Valley Law Is Here For You

The main risk of making phone calls while in state custody

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2024 | Criminal Defense

It is easy to make minor mistakes that result in major implications after an arrest. People frequently fail to make use of their civil rights while in state custody, and that failure can have major implications for someone’s options when responding to criminal charges.

Individuals taken into state custody have the right to remain silent. Law enforcement officials and other state employees cannot compel them to answer questions or to implicate themselves. Some people assert their right to remain silent during questioning but then disclose details while still in state custody that affect their criminal case. What someone says when calling others after an arrest can give the state more evidence to use against them.

Anything that someone says could be used against them

Oftentimes, unintentionally problematic disclosures occur during phone calls. It is standard practice for jails and prisons to record and monitor phone calls. With the exception of verified communications with lawyers, any phone calls made by someone in state custody are likely subject to recording. Therefore, information about who someone called and what they shared while on that phone call can potentially affect the state’s case during a criminal trial. The details that a defendant shares with family members or other people via jailhouse telecommunications system can build the state’s case.

The right to remain silent is useful while facing interrogation, but it is also important while in a holding cell with other individuals and when communicating with people who are not currently under arrest. The less that someone speaks while in state custody, the less likely their words are to impact their defense options in the future.

Understanding mistakes that can have major implications for someone’s criminal defense options may benefit those accused of breaking the law. Those who understand and use their right to remain silent – and not just when officers are interrogating them – are at a lesser risk of implicating themselves while they are in state custody than the average arrestee.

Practice Areas


FindLaw Network