My Child has Been Convicted of a Crime. What do I do?

No parent ever wants to face the phone call that their child has been arrested or convicted of a crime. However, more than a million teenagers are arrested every year.

What should you do if your child is arrested or in trouble?

The first thing you should tell your child is this: Do not talk to the police without an attorney present.

The second thing you should do is get them an attorney. If you want to understand the importance of these suggestions, please watch this TED talk:

The Danger of Wrongful Confessions

Here are some of the key take-aways of Malloy’s talk.

-Brenden Dassey is just one example of a teenager who was convicted of a crime he did not commit due to a false confession.

-The tactics that you see used in the footage of the Dassey interrogation are not illegal or unique.

-25% of all wrongful convictions included a false confession. However, juveniles are at much higher risk of falsely confessing. Out of 873 exonerations, 8% of adults gave false confessions and 42% of juveniles gave false confessions.

-Adolescents evaluate risk and reward different than adults do because of the developmental stages their brains are in.

-Your child should never talk to the police by themselves without representation from a lawyer.

What if my child is guilty?

Even if your child is guilty, they should still never talk to the police by themselves. For that matter, neither should you. The video below features an experienced attorney and an experienced police officer advising everyone, adults and juveniles alike, guilty or innocent or somewhere in between, to exercise their right to remain silent.

An important point in this video is: Anything said to the police can be used against you. But nothing you say can ever be used for you. It simply isn’t worth the risk of talking to them.

What if they are not being accused of a crime, but the police just want to talk to them?

The advice is the same. Never allow your child to talk to or be questioned by the police without an attorney present.

As a parent, your job is to protect your children. Even if they have done something wrong and need to be held accountable, make sure they have the qualified support they need. Reach out to an experienced attorney.

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