This is a tricky subject to talk about, but it’s an important lesson that every parent should take into consideration, even if it’s one of those things you teach your children and hope they never have to use. If your child is the subject of a police investigation, innocent or not, it is critical that your son or daughter knows his or her rights. Not understanding what those rights are could lead to an adverse outcome in a legal situation. Ideally, you will have a conversation with your child about what they should do if accused of a crime as early as possible.
There is No Requirement to Talk to Police
While a principal, police officer, or other party may try to pressure a minor into talking, there is no legal obligation to do so. Instead, a child may ask to be questioned in the presence of his or her parents or an attorney. Anything that a minor says before a parent or attorney arrives may be ruled inadmissible in a case.
A Warrant is Needed to Draw Blood
According to criminal defense lawyers, before an officer can draw a person’s blood, that officer must obtain a warrant or get permission from the individual in question. If neither are obtained, police cannot take blood without reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. In the event that blood is taken illegally, any evidence obtained in that blood draw would likely be suppressed by the court.
Most Searches are Illegal Without a Warrant
Typically, a school is within its rights to search a child’s locker even if no warrant is obtained. However, it may be illegal to search a student’s backpack or go through his or her phone without permission or a warrant. It is also generally illegal to search a student’s car without consent whether it is on school grounds or not.
There is No Obligation to Sign Anything
As part of an investigation, authorities may ask that your child signs a written statement or some other document acknowledging his or her role in an incident. Your child should know that there is no obligation to sign anything regardless of what the police or school authorities say. If your child is required to sign something under duress, it may not be introduced as evidence in court. An attorney would likely move to have it suppressed before a trial began.
Teaching your children or teens about their legal rights is part of teaching them life skills that they need to become well-rounded adults. A child who is taken into custody or questioned by police could be confused and scared about what to do. In this frightened state, he or she may say or do anything to make the authorities go away. However, by teaching your child about his or her rights, there is an increased chance of a positive outcome in his or her case.
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