What to Do if Your Child is Charged with a Crime
You certainly didn’t wake up wondering what you would say or do when you got a call from the police asking you to come down to the station with your son or daughter to answer some questions. You can’t believe that someone – much less a police officer – would think that your child could be somehow connected to a crime. To know that your loved one is under investigation may be even more terrifying than having to deal with that situation yourself.
No doubt, if you have received that call from a detective, your first instinct is to protect your loved one. But how? What is the best plan for doing so? What rights do you and your child have? And if you assert them, will that only make the situation worse? Your best option is to hire a Hackensack juvenile lawyer to advise you of your child’s rights.
Juveniles’ Right to Remain Silent in New Jersey
Most of us are familiar with the constitutional protection against self-incrimination. This is commonly referred to as our right to silence. Juveniles enjoy this right just as adults do. However, like an adult, a juvenile may waive that right and the consequences can be significant. When juveniles make voluntary and knowing waivers of their right to silence, what they say to police can be used against them. It is critical that you understand the rights that your child enjoys so that you and your child can make an informed decision regarding whether to speak to the police about an incident.
In New Jersey, our courts have found that one of the most critical factors in determining whether a juvenile’s waiver of the protection against self-incrimination is whether a parent or guardian had the opportunity to be present for the questioning. Another important consideration is the age of the juvenile, as a younger juvenile is less likely to make a knowing and voluntary waiver without a parent or guardian being present.
What To Do When The Police Want To Talk To Your Child
Of course, good children and their parents end up facing the dilemma of having to decide whether to speak to detectives all the time. This affects children who have never been in trouble before. Maybe your child had been out with some kids who find themselves accused of doing something wrong, even if there really was no crime. It affects children who may have made one or more missteps in the past and are now suspected when something happens in town. If you are a family member who needs to make a decision on whether to bring your child to speak with a detective, there is no time to lose to receive guidance and to learn what your rights are.
Hackensack Juvenile Lawyer Scott Gorman has been representing juveniles for over a decade. Scott has a unique track record of working with at-risk youth, having spent time as a counselor and a case manager at multiple not-for-profit agencies prior to attending law school. He will take care of you and your family as he would for a member of his own family. If your child has been charged with breaking the law, call Scott Gorman at The Gorman Law Firm right away