You see it on television and in the movies. A person is taken into police custody, and they demand their one telephone call. However, is this depiction accurate? Do you have the right to get a phone call after the police detain you or you are arrested in Kentucky?

Being Detained Versus Being Arrested in Louisville, KY

Before delving into your right to make a phone call, it is important to distinguish between being detained and being arrested. When the police detain you, the officers are holding you for a short period. Generally, they have a reasonable suspicion that you are involved in or know something about a crime. That said, the detainment must be brief and cursory unless they arrest you.

Therefore, you should ask if you are free to leave or if you are being arrested. If you are free to leave, there is no need for a phone call.

However, an arrest is a different matter. The police need to have probable cause for an arrest. If you are arrested, you should exercise your right to remain silent except when asking for an attorney. The right to legal counsel is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At this point, the right to make a phone call becomes very important.

Do I Have the Right To Make a Phone Call After an Arrest in Louisville, KY?

According to RCr 2.14 of the Kentucky Rules of Criminal Procedure, a person in custody has the right to make communications as soon as practical to obtain the services of an attorney. Therefore, if you are arrested in Louisville, you should ask for a phone call to contact a criminal defense attorney.

The “as soon as practical” portion of the rule could be interpreted several ways, so don’t expect the police officer to hand you a phone immediately after you state you want to call an attorney.

You could always quote the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says we have the right to have the assistance of counsel, or the Kentucky Constitution, which states we have the right to have an attorney represent us in criminal prosecutions.

Additionally, if you are arrested for DUI in Louisville, the right to call an attorney is protected under Kentucky Revised Statute §189A.105(3) before a chemical test. The statute states that before administering a chemical test, the person has at least 10 minutes but not more than 15 minutes to attempt to contact an attorney. The person must be informed of this right.

However, failing to contact an attorney during this period does not relieve you of the obligation to submit to DUI chemical tests. You are still subject to penalties if you refuse to take the test, even if you cannot speak with a lawyer.

Unfortunately, Kentucky courts have not upheld the right to call a lawyer before a chemical test after a DUI arrest. The law has been treated as an opportunity instead of a right to make a phone call before a DUI chemical test.

Can My Criminal Case Be Thrown Out if the Police Refuse To Give Me a Phone Call after an Arrest in Kentucky?

It is unlikely that a court would dismiss your criminal case because you were not afforded a phone call after an arrest. However, you have the right to counsel in criminal cases. Therefore, you should exercise the right as soon as possible after an arrest, including arrests for felony and misdemeanor charges.

You might not be able to reach a Louisville criminal defense lawyer right after being arrested. That is why you should refuse to answer questions or provide a statement after your arrest. The only person you should talk to about the charges is a criminal defense attorney, which might not happen until you are released from police custody.

You should always ask for a phone call after an arrest to try to reach an attorney or someone who can contact an attorney on your behalf. Having a Louisville criminal defense lawyer to guide you through the criminal proceeds can help you avoid making mistakes that could hurt your defense. Therefore, make the call as soon as you are permitted to do so, whether that is right after an arrest or after you are released on bond.