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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer Blog


3 Reasons Your Child Needs an Attorney Present When Talking to Police


Children and juveniles can be placed in a vulnerable position when questioned by law enforcement officers.  Before you permit your child to be questioned by law enforcement officers, please consider the following, based on examples from my experiences practicing criminal defense law for more than 20 years.

1.  Your child may be more than a witness.  Often the police will arrive at your home and ask for your child’s cooperation because “he’s a witness and we need his help.”  Without counsel, this quickly becomes a statement later used against your child, in adult court.

2.  Your child will not be treated by the system as a child!  If your child is involved in an “adult crime” (i.e., serious offense), he will be charged as an adult.  The days of a child remaining in juvenile court for serious charges are over.  More and more children are being accused, prosecuted and sentenced as adults.  It has taken a series of U.S. Supreme Court cases to tell states they cannot treat children as “mini adults.”

3.  All the tricks available to law enforcement to coerce a statement from a subject are equally available, and sometimes doubly effective, against children.  The list is endless.  It includes scenarios such as:

  • DNA results that are said to be available instantly;
  • Claims of video surveillance that do not exist;
  • Vague promises of leniency that are not upheld: and,
  • Questioning without counsel and parents.

These techniques are just a few of the examples that I experienced in representing criminal defense clients.  Unfortunately, after they have been used by law enforcement officers to coerce a subject, much of the damage has already been done.

These are just a few reasons — and actual examples of — why you need counsel if the police request the assistance of your child.  It is precisely why my criminal defense law firm is available on a 24-hour basis.  Remember, too, that your child has the right to remain silent until your attorney is present.