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Can I request to call my parents if I am arrested?

Unfortunately for many people, when they are arrested, most of their information about the criminal justice system is based on TV, movies and news headlines. Although some of this information has some basis in reality, it can make figuring out how to handle an arrest challenging.

For many, sitting in the police station is intimidating. You may not know or fully understand your rights or the resources available to you.

Here’s what you should know about whom you can contact after you an arrest.

Not limited to one call

After an arrest, Colorado law states that you have the right to make a “reasonable number of telephone calls.” The statute allows defendants to contact both an attorney and a family member.

If you are more comfortable talking to a family member before calling an attorney, there is no rule regarding whom you may call first. The exception, however, is contacting people who may have an order for protection against you. If police discover you contacted someone protected by an order for protection, officers may restrict your access so you can only call your lawyer.

New place, new call

There are some cases where police or other officials need to transfer you to another facility. While you may not have an opportunity to make calls before you leave, you will have the right to make reasonable phone calls from the new facility.

Not necessarily right away

Your right to contact your family and your attorney is important, but it may not happen the moment you arrive at the police station.

In Colorado, officers must allow you to make telephone calls at the “earliest possible time.” While you may not be able to call someone immediately when you arrive, you should get an opportunity soon afterward.

When you are facing an arrest, it is crucial to understand your rights, including your ability to contact your family and an attorney.

Memorize at least one phone number

Of course, the right to make a phone call is only meaningful if you have can remember a phone number to call. In some—but not all—situations the police may allow you to access your cell phone to retrieve a number.

Taking advantage of this offer may in turn provide police access to the contents of your now-unlocked cell phone. The best course is to always remember at least one phone number of a trusted family member who can help coordinate posting your bond, hiring a lawyer, and picked you up from jail after release.