Was Your Child Charged With A Crime?

Learning that your child may have committed a crime can be upsetting news to hear, and your first inclination is to protect them as much as you can while you learn more about the circumstances of your child’s criminal charges. Here’s what you should know about the rights of juvenile offenders in the Florida criminal justice system. 

Juveniles have: 

The Right to Remain Silent 

While police officers may try to pressure your child into answering questions like where they were going, where they came from, or who they were with, your child isn’t required to. They can simply decline to speak without the presence of a parent or guardian. 

The Right to Probable Cause 

Juveniles cannot be searched (their person or property) without a warrant, permission, or probable cause. If police officers conduct a search without probable cause, any evidence obtained from the search may be considered inadmissible in court. 

The Right to Avoid Incriminating Themselves 

A juvenile has the right to avoid incrimination by “pleading the 5th,” or declining to answer questions that may potentially incriminate themselves. 

The Right to Make a Phone Call 

Both juvenile offenders and adults have the right to place a phone call after being detained. While most adults are allowed only one phone call, a juvenile may be allowed to continue reaching out for an adult until they are able to get ahold of someone who can help. 

The Right to Speak with a Lawyer 

Like adults, juveniles have the right to contact an attorney and if they do not have one, the state of Florida must provide one. While parents may hire a private attorney, a child may request to speak with a lawyer independently, prior to contacting their parents. If a juvenile requests to consult with an attorney, police officers must contact a public defender and may not continue to interrogate the child without their lawyer present. If they continue to do so, any information obtained during the questioning may be considered inadmissible in court. 

Contact Criminal Defense Attorney T. Martin Knopes Today 

Don’t hesitate to take action as soon as possible after learning that your child has been charged with a crime. T. Martin Knopes is an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer who understands the differences between juvenile and adult criminal cases and the most effective strategies for each. Call today for a consultation to learn how you can protect your child’s rights at (850) 683-0700.