As a parent, you work diligently to provide for your children. After all, the world can be a tough place to grow into an adult. Sometimes, though, finding the right words to help kids on their journey can be challenging. If law enforcement officers have arrested your son or daughter, though, what you say may make a huge difference.
If you have ever watched a crime show, you have probably heard officers advise criminal suspects of their right to remain silent. This advisement is part of a larger warning to help individuals exercise their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves. Unfortunately, though, minors often say things that prosecutors later use to convict them of crimes. Here are three ways your child can assert his or her right to remain silent.
- Say nothing
Investigators know how to get suspects to talk. As such, officers can be extraordinarily intimidating. Even if an officer tells your child that cooperation is the best way to avoid criminal charges, talking to investigators without a lawyer present could spell trouble. Therefore, your child is probably better off by simply saying nothing at all.
- Ask for a lawyer
If your son or daughter asks for a lawyer, officers should stop asking questions until one arrives. If you think an arrest is imminent, printing a card with an attorney’s name and contact information is not a bad idea. If officers arrest your child, he or she can simply give them the card and ask them to contact the attorney.
Finally, your child can affirmatively exercise his or her right to remain silent by saying, “I choose to remain silent.” Try practicing this phrase a few times with your child.
You want what is best for your son or daughter. While you cannot help cover up a crime, you can encourage your child to assert his or her right to avoid self-incrimination. By having a tough conversation, you can likely help the minor in your family limit potential criminal exposure.