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The right to remain silent and phone calls while in custody

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Firm News

Basic civil rights are crucial for the protection of those who are facing criminal charges. Many people understand that they have the right to remain silent after an arrest and the right to secure the help of an attorney.

However, many people fail to properly avail themselves of those rights. In fact, they might make certain assumptions while in state custody that directly impact their ability to defend against the charges they face. Frequently, those arrested know not to speak to police directly during questioning. Unfortunately, they may still end up making disclosures that put them at a legal disadvantage while they are in state custody.

Phone calls are a source of legal risk

Maryland offers opportunities for those in state facilities to call their loved ones or lawyers. People can check in on their children and possibly even warn coworkers about impending legal action.

Some people have an unrealistic expectation of privacy while using state phones to contact people they know after an arrest. They might disclose information that makes them look guilty in court. They might even reach out to an individual that the police have already connected to the criminal incident. As a general rule, those in state custody should operate under the assumption that officials may record any phone calls they make.

Certain attempts at communication, such as a call to a lawyer, have the protection of attorney-client privilege. Even then, however, there could be risk of misconduct by law enforcement or eavesdropping by other parties that could lead to more challenges for a criminal defendant. It is often ideal to avoid discussing any details related to someone’s arrest or pending changes on a phone call made from state facilities.

Just as someone should not make statements to the police that might implicate them or make them look guilty, they should be very cautious about any telecommunications use while they are still in state custody. People who fail to do so may increase their risk of a conviction.

Learning from the mistakes that others make may benefit those hoping to defend against pending criminal charges. Those aware of the risks can make better decisions about their communications with others while they are in state custody.