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Do you have a "right" to a phone call following your arrest?
If your legal knowledge comes mostly from watching movies and TV shows, you may believe that you are automatically granted this right. And in many states, this may be the case.
However, the right to make a phone call is typically governed by state law and is not something specifically enumerated in the Constitution. As a result, to learn your exact rights, you may need to talk to an attorney in your state.
For example, a person arrested in Rhode Island does have the enumerated right to make a phone call. The person arrested can make a call to secure a lawyer or to arrange for bail as soon as practicable following an arrest, typically within one hour.
Furthermore, Rhode Island law also provides that the telephone call shall be carried out in a manner that maximizes confidentiality between the person arrested and the call's recipient.
Similarly, in California, an arrestee has a right immediately after booking to make at least three phone calls within three hours of arrest. These calls may generally be made to an attorney, a bail bondsman, and a relative.
In general, some common stipulations of state laws addressing phone calls after arrest include:
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.