Trusted And Experienced
Maryland Client Advocates Since 1950

The dangers of using the jail’s phone lines

You have no expectation of privacy in jail while you are awaiting trial.

This is something that everyone should understand because far too many people make mistakes during their phone calls to loved ones that end up hurting them at trial.

Even though inmates are warned that their phone calls are recorded, many inmates still fail to exercise the sort of caution they should. Why? A variety of reasons are possible:

  • Prisoners don’t fully process the information when told the lines are recorded because they are told when they first arrive, and they’re already overwhelmed.
  • The reminder messages become routine and prisoners start to ignore them.
  • Prisoners believe that prosecutors simply don’t have the time or interest to listen in on every phone call.
  • Prisoners believe that they can somehow fool the system using coded language or something other than English.

All of these are a mistake. In fact, in some circumstances, even your phone calls to your attorney may be recorded. A message played at the start of the phone call telling you that the call is being recorded constitutes a voluntary waiver of your attorney-client privilege.

Prosecutors can — and will — spend hours listening to the tapes to find evidence that can be used to secure a conviction. Coded language can be decoded, and interpreters will be used to translate conversations that aren’t in English.

Prosecutors will also use anything they can find to influence a judge’s mind about what sentence to impose if your loved one is convicted. Statements that show a lack of remorse, threats or anything that can be taken as a negative indication of his or her character can be problematic and increase the defendant’s sentence.

If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important to only discuss your case with your defense attorney — usually in person. The best defense is often simply not playing into the prosecution’s hands.