By Jedidiah McKeehan

When you see someone get arrested in the movies or on TV, you will see them often yelling about getting their, “phone call.”  Is that a real thing?  Are you actually entitled to a phone call when you get arrested?

The short answer is, “yes, you are entitled to a phone call.”  Tennessee Code Annotated 40-7-106(b) states,

“No person under arrest by any officer or private citizen shall be named in any book, ledger or any other record until after the person has successfully completed a telephone call to an attorney, relative, minister or any other person that the person shall choose, without undue delay. One (1) hour shall constitute a reasonable time without undue delay. However, if the arrested person does not choose to make a telephone call, then the person shall be booked or docketed immediately.”

This means that you are entitled to a phone call before you are “booked in” for arrest.

But what happens if the police refuse to give you your phone call?  Well, the statute does not say what happens.  So while you may raise a stink about your lack of a phone call later on, the statute does not provide for any specific remedy if you are not provided your phone call.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.