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Should your child talk to the police?

Should your child talk to the police?

We regularly represent children charged or under investigation for criminal offenses. This includes offenses ranging from possession of alcohol to more serious offenses such as robbery, or the sexual touching of a younger child.  

Our typical child client (or as the courts call them “juvenile defendants”), come from a good home. They aren’t used to police encounters, and their parents aren’t either. This is usually their fist contact with the criminal justice system.

Commonly we see situations where the police are allowed to directly question the child, and the child answers questions or makes statements. Parents aren’t always involved in this process (and police don’t need parents’ permission to question children), but many times the parents are aware this is occurring.

Many parents have told us that they thought the best policy was for their child to be cooperative and honest with police. Unfortunately, we’ve seen over and over again where this strategy backfires, and results in criminal charges that could have been avoided or are made more serious by the child’s cooperation.

Children have the same right to remain silent as anyone else under investigation or arrest. In many situations police aren’t required to provide Miranda warnings. Police aren’t there for the best interest of the child. They are there to complete an investigation and bring criminal charges if possible.

Our advice is always that no one, including a child, should answer questions or make any statements to the police unless and until they have meet with a criminal defense attorney first who has advised them that doing so is in their best interest. Your child can enforce their rights by simply advising the police that they are remaining silent and not answering questions.

Remaining silent can never be used against your child in court. Making any statement however can. Police are also trained to take advantage of those unfamiliar with the legal system, and have also been trained in psychologically based interrogation techniques. Remaining silent is best protection against false or unfair criminal charges.

If your child has been accused of a crime, is under formal investigation, or has been arrested, you are invited to contact our office for a free consultation. During this appointment you will be able to meet with an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney to explain the situation and ask any questions that you may have.


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