One of the most common tropes on television shows about cops is that inmates are legally allowed one phone call. The truth of the matter is far more complex. The police do not have to give you a phone call at all depending on the severity of your crime and what facility you go to. In other instances, the police will give you as many phone calls as you want.
After the police arrest a person for a crime, it is paramount for that individual to be aware that if he or she does get a phone call, the cops may record it. If the police will record a call, then there will be a message before the inmate can talk that says something along the lines of how the police will record the conversation. However, a surprising number of people still admit full confessions over the phone that the police can legally use later in court.
It happens more often than people think
There have been numerous stories of inmates contacting a friend or family members and divulging all the details of a case despite the initial warning. This is why attorneys suggest speaking cautiously when on the phone at the police station. One exemption where police could not record the call is if an inmate wanted to speak with a lawyer. Under this circumstance, the inmate has attorney-client privilege. If the police were to record the call, then any evidence gathered would become inadmissible in court.
Arrested individuals should also be careful to not even joke about committing a crime over the phone. For instance, an inmate may joke to a spouse about escaping from the jail. The police will take such a statement, even if it is a joke, seriously. The best recommendation for arrested parties is to say as little as possible over the jail phone. An attorney will have an easier time building a criminal defense if the cops have minimal information.