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3 things to avoid saying on calls made from jail

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2024 | Criminal Defense

That first call from jail to your family after an arrest can be really hard to make – especially if you’re in serious legal trouble and facing charges of a violent crime.

You may have a ton of things you want to say to your loved ones, and they probably have a lot of questions. However, you need to be very careful about what you say in that first call (and every call after) because your calls are all being recorded, with very few exceptions. The authorities can and will eventually listen to whatever you say.

What to keep in mind when you contact your family

While there are likely to be a lot of emotions happening on both ends of your call, stick purely to practical concerns that have to be addressed, like helping you obtain legal guidance. However, you do not want to utter any of the following:

  • An explanation: You can tell your loved ones what your charges are, but do not make any further explanations. Answer any questions like, “Did you do it?” or “What happened?” with a neutral response. “We can talk about things later,” is sufficient. If you start making explanations to your loved one, you could be building the prosecution’s case for them.
  • A lie: If you’re scared about your loved ones’ reaction to your situation, it can be really tempting to lie about what happened, but that’s just as dangerous as telling the truth. You could be locking yourself into a narrative that may later be shown to be untrue, and that could deeply damage your defense.
  • Threats: Maybe you’re angry about the whole situation, and rightly so – but do not express your frustration in threats against the alleged victim, their family, the police that arrested you or the prosecutor. Your words could be replayed in court as further evidence of your violent tendencies.

You’re in a difficult spot, but it’s very important that you preserve your right against self-incrimination. There will be plenty of time later to discuss your situation with your loved ones after you’ve explored your defense options.