Crying, upset and scared…three words that I hear in every conversation with parents who hire me to represent their child arrested for any kind of crime. Police can arrest your child just like they do with adults. The important difference that every parent should know, is that if your child is under the age of 15, the police cannot interrogate your child unless the child has consulted with an attorney.
Until recently, a child had the right to waive their right to remain silent, just like an adult. We’ve all heard, “you have the right to remain silent,” well before Governor Jerry Brown signed the current law in effect (in late 2017), children could waive their rights to remain silent, and talk to police officers—even if their parents have no idea they are in custody.
Governor Jerry Brown recognized what science has been saying for a long time, children’s’ brains are still growing and developing and just do not have the brain capacity to understand legal concepts—and officers use that lack of development, and lack of parents’ presence to take advantage and get their cases filed…
This law is the right direction to take. I have had so many young clients admit to activities they never did, because they want to go home and fear the police so much.
Now, if police overstep, a skilled attorney can get those statements tossed out of Court! And please let your children know, do not talk to the police if they are arrested…they should call their parents and immediately hire an attorney!