Hollywood movies and television police shows often depict an arrested person in jail demanding to make his one phone call. A police officer informs the suspect “You have the right to one phone call”. This scene has been played over and over on television from Ironside to Hawaii Five 0 to Murder She Wrote to Columbo. My friends with careers in medicine, finance, education and sales all believe if you get arrested you have an absolute right to make one phone call. Is this true? Is there an absolute right to make one phone call when you are arrested? In Kentucky the answer is “no”. However, like any lawyer answer , the no answer is somewhat qualified. If you read the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Kentucky Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Kentucky Constitution and many many federal, state and US supreme Court cases you will discover there is no legal authority that stands for the proposition that a person has a right to make one phone call when he is arrested. In fact federal cases hold to the contrary. There is no constitutional right to a phone call upon the completion of jail booking. Dietzen v Mork, 101 F. 3d 110 1996 . However, just because there is no legal authority that specifically grants an arrestee the right to make one phone call does not mean you will not have access to a phone once you find yourself in the local jail. The right to make a telephone call occurs only when certain constitutional rights are implicated, for example –the right to consult with counsel. Police and all jail personnel are trained on the famous United States Supreme Court case styled Miranda vs. Arizona. This is of course the case that birthed Miranda Rights, also referred to as Miranda Warnings. Miranda warnings are the “you have the right to remain silent, blah… blah… blah “. Police TV shows frequently depict the arrestee being informed of Miranda rights as handcuffs are slapped on. Miranda requires that once police place you in custody they must advise you that you have the right to remain silent and the right to speak to an attorney. However there is more to Miranda jurisprudence then simply the recitation of the constitutional warnings. Miranda is over 50 years old and many appellate court decisions have restricted its original dictates. Since the US Supreme Court clearly stated in Miranda that once arrested you have the right to speak to a lawyer, from a practical standpoint the police must allow you phone access to exercise that right to speak a lawyer. It only makes sense that if you have the right to speak to an attorney then you should be provided with the means to do so; that is the means to phone access. The Hollywood one phone call myth derived from the Miranda opinion. While Miranda strictly only requires that police read a suspect his rights prior to police questioning a detained person , the history of Miranda has made it so ingrained in police work that phone calls upon arrest have become routine. Some state laws specifically provide an arrested person the right to make a phone call. Nevada, California, New York, Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and Ohio are a few states that give an arrested person the right to make phone calls. The Kentucky Public Manual on State Rights proclaims : Even discounting the simple fact that telephones did not exist when the Kentucky Constitution was ratified , there is no legal requirement that an arrested subject be permitted to call anyone. The Manual is not a legal authority but it does provide insight on what the power figures in Frankfort think of this issue.

JOHN OLASH . I can help you get released from jail and begin the process of preparing a defense to your criminal charges. I can also help you get your automobile released, cell phone returned and can call your family . Call me on my cell phone at 502 419 4384 The bottom line is that after you are booked the jail officer will let you make a call unless you behave in a threatening or dangerous way. If you do not pose an escape risk or harm to jail personnel you will be allowed to use you cell phone or the jail land line to call an attorney …..or your wife. This wise response is to not say anything to law enforcement except “I want to speak to my attorney”. At this point call JOHN OLASH , I CAN HELP YOU GET RELEASED FROM JAIL, GET YOUR CAR OUT OF IMPOUNDMENT, HAVE YOUR CELL PHONE RETURNED AND I CAN NOTIFY YOU FAMILY.
MY CELL PHONE # IS 502 419 4384