Most people assume that they have a certain right to privacy, especially when they’re talking to their loved ones.
Well, that privacy goes out the window when you’ve been arrested. While you still retain the right to private conversations with your attorney (thanks to attorney-client privilege), everything else you say over a phone can end up on tape.
Here’s what you need to know about jailhouse calls
It’s tough to sit in jail and wait for your court date. The temptation to talk about your situation with your loved ones can be very strong – but you need to resist it. As one experienced attorney says, “speak at your own peril.” When you’re facing criminal charges of any sort, exercising your right to remain silent is a critical start to your defense.
As recently as 2020, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has upheld the long-standing practice that has allowed tapes of prison calls and conversations to be used at trial. While Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state when it comes to recorded conversations, the court considers going ahead with your conversation after being warned that the call is recorded is enough to constitute “consent.”
If you think that you’re not possibly of enough interest for a prosecutor to weed through hours of your calls looking for anything from threats (which will make you look violent and dangerous to the court) to admissions of guilt (which would destroy your defense), think again. Prosecutors have plenty of resources at their disposal, and a lot of people have already made that mistake.
When you’re facing serious criminal charges, keep your jailhouse conversations focused away from your case – unless you’re talking directly with your defense.