You must be 18 to vote…
You must be 21 to drink…
18 to serve in the military…
BUT, did you know, police may talk to your child if they are under suspicion for committing an offense, AND YOU as the parent HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE PRESENT.
It’s amazing, when it comes to juvenile law, where I have literally done hundreds upon hundreds of cases, I see the same issue haunt me over and over again.
Kids under the age of 18, feeling pressured to talk to police–even if they did NOTHING wrong, just to get out of the police station…just to get out of the interrogation.
Kids telling police so much so, they make the officers’ job not only easy, but in most cases, the police will close out their investigation.
Adults and minors are treated the same when it comes to being arrested. They are detained, then interrogated, BUT FIRST: They are mirandized–which means people who are arrested, are told their rights.
….As seen on virtually every cop and lawyer show:
You have the right to remain silent
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a Court of law
You have the right to an attorney
If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided to you
DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE RIGHTS I HAVE JUST READ TO YOU?
WITH THESE RIGHTS IN MIND, DO YOU WISH TO SPEAK TO US?
Now, it is NEVER okay to talk to the police UNLESS you have an attorney present. Why you may ask…well, cops know how to twist words, remember when one is arrested, police in their hearts are convinced the person they have in cuffs did the crime. Anything you say will be twisted and any inconsistency will be manipulated and used against you in court.
Now imagine a child trying to handle this level of stress…
Children by nature trust police and yet at the same time are scared to death of police–when questioned by officers, children often beg to go home, and from my direct experience, will say or do anything to go home. This is why studies conducted on juveniles in custody show that children are more likely to give false confessions, just to get out of the interrogation.
Parents, you have no constitutional right to be present for questioning, only invoking the right to silence and asking for an attorney will allow the most protection for your child.
Having a child arrested can be one of the most difficult events to get through as a parent–but there are ways to help your child defend himself or herself, always get an attorney and always advise your child to remain silent!
The author, Silva Megerditchian, is a criminal defense attorney based in Los Angeles, she is the Owner and Manager of The Law Office Of Silva L. Megerditchian. Ms. Megerditchian is a Superlawyer Rising Star (2017) and has handled hundreds of juvenile cases in Los Angeles and Orange Counties and may be contacted at: 310-443-4119.